Presidential Candidates At The Second Democratic Debate Stand Up For Undocumented Health Rights
The second night of the Democratic debates in Miami were held last night and the undocumented and DACA communities were the main topics. The clear winner of last night’s debate was California Senator Kamala Harris who took on former Vice President Joe Biden and emerged victorious. Here’s a quick recap of what the 10 candidates had to say last night.
California Kamala Harris took a stand with DACA recipient and pledged her full support if elected
“Immediately on January 20, 2021, I will… First of all, we cannot forget our DACA recipients, so I’m going to start there,” Harris answered moderator José Diaz-Balart when asked about dealing with the migrant crisis at the border. “I will immediately, by executive action, reinstate DACA status and DACA protection to those young people. I will further extend protection for deferral from deportation for their parents and for veterans, who we have so many who are undocumented who have served our country and fought for our democracy.”
She added: “I will also immediately put in place a meaningful process for reviewing the cases for asylum. I will release children from cages. I will get rid of the private detention centers and I will ensure that this microphone that the president of the United States holds in her hand is used in a way that is about reflecting the values of our country and not about locking children up and separating them from their parents.”
Sen. Harris then turned to Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and addressed his record on the issues of race and school integration.
“So, on the issue of race,” Harris started looking at Biden. “I couldn’t agree more that this is an issue that is still not being talked about truthfully and honestly. There is not a Black man I know be he a relative, a friend, or a coworker who has not be the subject of some form of profiling or discrimination. Growing up, my sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us that her parents said she couldn’t play with us because we were Black.”
Harris then took on Biden’s record on race saying: “It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and careers on the segregation of race in this country. It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose bussing. There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school and she was bussed to school every day. And, that little girl was me.”
The moment was one of the most stunning at the debate. The audience was silent as Harris captivated the audience giving a personal story on race in America.
Harris was referring to Biden’s remarks from a New York fundraiser where he spoke openly about how he was able to work across the aisle with to segregationist senators in the 1970s.
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland… He never called me ‘boy’. He always called me ‘son,'” Biden said of the segregationist senator from Mississippi.
He then brought up “a guy like Herman Talmadge, one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list with these guys. Well, guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done,” Biden said. “We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
The other big moment from last night’s debate was the candidates agreeing to healthcare for undocumented people in the U.S.
Moderator Savannah Guthrie asked the candidates a show-of-hands question about which candidates included undocumented people on their health care plans. Every candidate raised their hands in solidarity.
Guthrie then turned first to South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as to why his plan allows undocumented people to have healthcare coverage.
“Our country is healthier when everyone is healthier,” Mayor Buttigieg said. “Remember, we’re talking about something that people are given a chance to buy into. In the same way that there are undocumented immigrants in my community who pay. They pay sales taxes. The pay property taxes directly or indirectly. This is not about a handout. This is an insurance program.”
Debate viewers were pleased to see the show of support for the undocumented community.
The undocumented community has faced years of attacks from the current administration. The community does not have the power to vote so their future and wellbeing is tied directly to the people around them who have the ability to vote. Hearing candidates talk about issues impacting the undocumented community with compassion is something so many voters have been looking for.
It gave some people hope for the future of America for the first time in two years.
It is not a secret that several communities have been in distress as the Trump administration steam rolls over everyone’s rights. Seeing this display is something that is sending a message to Americans seeking a compassionate and better functioning government.
It is also important to note that nay sayers of the idea claim they don’t want their tax dollars paying for this. Undocumented immigrants pay taxes. Undocumented people in the U.S. pay billions of dollars in taxes. According to a 2017 study, undocumented people paid $11.7 billion in taxes in 2014.
Texas is the second largest beneficiary of undocumented taxes with a total of $1.6 billion in taxes coming from undocumented people in 2014. California was number one with $3.2 billion in tax dollars in 2014. That said, the debate of whether or not undocumented people deserve healthcare ignores the fact that undocumented people are subsidizing the federal programs Americans use on a daily basis, like Social Security, but those same people do not benefit from those tax dollars spent.