Univision Hosts Democratic Presidential Debate in Miami

Photo Credit: Vox

Posted By: Carla Sanchez

Presidential Democratic Candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders made history by participating in a bilingual debate at Miami-Dade College, sponsored by Univision and the Washington Post. The moderators, Univision’s Maria Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos, and The Post’s Karen Tumulty asked all the right questions.

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Photo Credit: The Washington Post

Clinton started off the duel. Promising to break down economic barriers, she also stated that she will prevent corporations from shipping American jobs overseas. As President, Clinton vows to discuss immigration reform and seek a path to citizenship as one of her priorities. She also emphasized the importance of a great education.

Sanders followed, agreeing that we are in need of immigration reform, and stating that he’d also find a path to citizenship.

Ramos pressed Clinton over her infamous e-mail scandal. He even asked if she’d drop out if she were to be indicted for it. To this, the former Secretary of State responded that she regrets making that “mistake,” but she was never prohibited from doing so. However, she is certain that it should not worry her, the Democratic Party, or the American people.

On Trump’s racist remarks, Clinton replied that she was one of the first to call him out for his insults directed at the Mexican people. She also condemned any racism, demagoguery, and discrimination as un-American. Sanders extended his response to denounce hateful rhetoric towards Latinos, Blacks, Muslims, and our President.

Immigration reform was the most talked-about topic of the night.

Clinton defended her so-called “Hispandering” by proudly announcing her support for the DREAMER Act in 2003. Since then, she says, she has been committed to immigration reform and the path to citizenship.

Then the issue turned to Sanders, who did not vote for the  bill in favor of bringing in “guest workers” to America. He replied that the bill was similar to “slavery” and would only hurt immigrant workers. Sanders also shared that he supported the 2013 immigration reform bill, and would continue to expand President Obama’s executive actions.

Both Democratic candidates are in favor of allowing undocumented immigrants, especially those from Central America, come and stay in the United States to seek refuge. Clinton and Sanders promised to not  deport children and claimed that they hope to see those with no criminal record on the path to citizenship.

However, Ramos pressured Clinton into giving a full, honest account of her plans for deportation policies. This is what she said:

Hillary Clinton: “But if you are asking about everyone who is already here, undocumented immigrants, the 11-12 million who are living here, my priorities are to deport violent criminals, terrorists, and anyone who threatens our safety. So I do not have the same policy as the current administration does. I think it’s important that we move to our comprehensive immigration reform, but at the same time, stop the raids, stop the round-ups, stop the deporting of people who are living here doing their lives, doing their jobs, and that’s my priority.”

Sanders, when confronted with allegations of being against undocumented immigrants, responded that he preferred a guest worker bill that would not exploit the immigrant workers – stating that LULAC and other large Latino organizations were not in favor of the original bill, which Sanders compared to semi-slavery. He also denied to be in favor of MinuteMen – or “vigilantes” that “hunt down” undocumented immigrants at the Mexico – U.S. border.

Bernie Sanders: “I will stand by my career, political career fighting for workers, fighting for the poorest people in this country.”

The candidates also discussed Wall Street, big corporation bailouts, and border security. But perhaps the most memorable moment came when a Guatemalan woman, with her five children, spoke at the event. Lucia and her children have not seen their father since he was deported three years ago. She asked the candidates what they would do to stop deportation and reunite families.

“To answer your question,” responded Sanders, “the essence of what we are trying to do is unite families, not to divide families. So, ma’am, I will do everything that I can to unite your family.”

Clinton applauded the mother’s courage. She replied, “I will do everything I can to pass laws that would bring families back together. And I hope that your children are all either citizens born in this country or eligible for the programs that President Obama has put into place, DACA and DAPA, because I will defend those and I will absolutely protect your children, yourself, and try to bring your family back together.”

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Issues Facing Hard-Working and Student Latinos 

The debate continued, mentioning Benghazi, expensive speeches, and the e-mails again. Clinton reassured the viewers that we all learn from our mistakes. Then, the moderators turned back to issues facing Latinos in the United States.

This is what Clinton had to say:

“Everything I just said will improve the living conditions, and I’ve spent a lot of time and effort talking to and mostly listening to Latinos. Jobs are the number one issue, with rising incomes. Close behind is education.”

And she added:

“Every child deserves a good teacher in a good school, regardless of the zip code that they live in. Following behind that is health care and how important it is to continue to build on the Affordable Care Act and provide access to health care. And then there are a number of other issues – comprehensive immigration reform certainly at the top.”

In his response, Sanders included joblessness as an issue, as well as a need for investment in education for black and Hispanic youth. This is what he said:

“…If you look at Latino kids between 17 and 20 who graduated high school, 36 percent of them are unemployed or underemployed… African-American kids are unemployed or underemployed to the tune of 51 percent. That’s why I co-sponsored legislation to put $5 billion into a jobs program to put our kids to work because I would rather invest in education and jobs than jails and incarceration.”

On the topic of college tuition and student debt, both candidates agree that debt is hurting many students. Sanders promised to tax Wall Street to make a college degree affordable to all.

Latin America

On Cuba, Clinton and Sanders agree that only diplomatic relations can improve our relationship with the country. Clinton brought attention to the need for human rights and democracy in Cuba. Sanders favors lifting the embargo on Cuba and working with governments in Latin America instead of trying to overthrow them.

In their closing remarks,  the candidates brought attention to the much-needed progress in America. Clinton promises to facilitate economic advancement, education improvement, and healthcare expansion. Sanders commits to democracy, the middle-class, and affordability of higher education.

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