Democratic candidates debate: Addressing immigration and equality

Univision’s Jorge Ramos asks the candidates how they plan to re-write immigration laws.
12:02 | 09/13/19

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Transcript for Democratic candidates debate: Addressing immigration and equality
Only a few weeks a goal. The deadliest massacre of Latinos Latinos. In modern US history it happening to state a passel. So the fear among Latinos and you know that she's very real for let me start with an issue that is costing a lot of the commission. In this country immigration. Vice President Biden asked a presidential kind. In 2008. You've supported the border wall say and like most Democrats I voted for 700 miles of fence if that's what you said. Then you serve up vice president in an administration that deported three medium people. The most ever in US history. Do you do anything. To prevent those deportations. Mean you've been asked this question before and refused to us are so let me try once again. I'd are you prepared to fade from nine. That you and President Obama made a mistake. About deportation of what should let the nostrils you. Lets you know should look at is comparing this president to the president we have is outrageous. Number one we don't lock people up in cages we didn't separate families we didn't do all of those things number one number two. Number two by the time this is the president came along with the doctor program known and ever done that before. This the president settlement legislation that's sandy Watson find a pathway. For the eleven million on document of the United States America this the president has done a great deal so I'm proud to have served with him. But I would do as president has several more things because things have changed. I would in fact make sure that there is we immediately surged in the border all those people are Seeking Asylum. They deserved to be hurt that's who we are poor nations says if you want to flee to refrain oppression you should come. I would change the order that the president just change shape women who were being beaten and abused. Could no longer claim that its reason for asylum by the way retrospectively. You know. 25 anniversary of violence against women act is up the Republican congress has not reauthorize that lets put pressure on the attacks the violence against women act now for the yeah definitely I did it answer the question are donated and you'll make I am not did you make a mistake we don't duplication. The president did the best thing that was able to be done public view on the vice president United States. Secretary Castro. Would you want to the ivy bush and invited you know and limit with this in context but because I your party controlled. The White House and congress in 2009. And didn't pass immigration reform and these broke a promise made by president Barack Obama too and at funerals so why should voters straws Democrats now I mean nobody is even more difficult us you know because thirty Republican votes in the senate so are you winning parties have to give a back cut would you book a path to citizenship or even a week to build the wall in order to legalize ten point five million undocumented immigrants. Hornet thank you very much for that question and you look I agree that Barack Obama was very different from Donald Trump Donald Trump. As a dark heart when it comes to immigrants he built his whole political career so far on scapegoating and fear mongering and other rising. Migrants and that's very different for Barack Obama. But my problem what Vice President Biden and Cory pointed this out last time is every time something. Good about Barack Obama comes up he says oh I was there I was there I was there that's me too. And then every time somebody questions part of the administration that we are both part of he says well that was the president I mean he wasn't take credit for Obama's work. But not have to answer. I've said on let me. There I've Lloyd. I was the first candidate in early April to put forward an immigration plan you know life. Because I'm not afraid of Donald Trump on this issue I'm not going to back panel I'm not gonna pretend. Like idol have paid my own vision for immigration so. We're not gonna give up doctor we're not gonna give a protections for anybody I believe that on January 2321. We're gonna have a democratic president we're gonna throw orbiting tunnel and John Cornyn and have a democratic senate and a democratic house. And we're gonna pass immigration reform. Within the first hundred days as president put it I think. I did not say I don't stem. I stand when Barack Obama all eight years good bad and in different. That's right stand. I did not say I did not stand with you put it senator Warren hundreds of children have. Been separated from their parts of the border in recent in Mississippi we saw the largest immigration raid in a naked. You want to replace ice the agency charged are grown in up on the committed a rough so how would you deal. We the meals of immigrants who are right legally. But overstayed their B says and how would you stop hundreds of thousands of central Americans want to migrate to the UN. Well I start with a statement of principles and that is in this country. Integration does not make us weaker immigration makes us stronger. I want to have expanded. Legal immigration. And create a pathway to citizenship. Sure are dreamers. Up about grandparents. And public husbands or people who overstayed student visas and for people who came here to work in the fields. I want to have a system that has a path just to citizenship. That is fair and achievable. Down at the border we've got to rework. This entire us. A system right now that cannot tell the difference in the threat posed by a terrorist. A criminal. And a twelve year old girl. Is not a system that is keeping us safe and it is not serving our values. You figure out how how do you want to add one more apart on this because I think we have to look at all the pieces why do we have a crisis at the border. In no small part because we have withdrawn help from people in Central America who are suffering. We need to break that. We need to help establish and reestablish the rule of war so that people don't feel like they have to plead for their lives. We have a crisis that Donald's trump has created it. And hopes to profit from politically. We have to have the courage to stand up and fight. The third down. It is true that in the last few years we have seen the most severe until immigrant bashers from putting kids in K just an admitting outside and I'm. For people fleeing Dax has domestic violence but it is also true that about one million immigrants enter that you with legally. Every year so are you willing to raise the known world legal immigrants from one million to two million per year and should there be a merit system a president's problems. Yeah why did you ask me knees underneath army said OPEC. Sorry my oh my father grew up on a peanut farm in Asia with no floor and now his son is running for president. That is the immigration story that we have. If you look at our history almost half of fortune 500 companies were founded by other immigrants or children of immigrants. And greets a business formation are much higher in immigrant communities. We have to say the American people immigrants are positive for economic and social dynamism. And I would return the level of legal immigration. To look to the point it was under the Obama Biden administration. I think we have to compete for talent and I am the opposite of Donald Trump in many ways he says build a wall. I'm going to say the immigrants come to America. Because if you come here are your son or daughter can run for president the water's great and this is where you want to build a company build a family and build a life. This country has been a magnet for human capital for generations if we lose that we lose something. Integral to our continued success and that is where I would lead as president about a group. I've got to defeat eight out of ten Latinos in Texas for another mass shooting targeting them this is according to a new and additional Paul. President from house called Mexican immigrants rapists and killers tried to ban Muslims from entering the country and separated children from the pirates. He supported Scott chant it. Build the wall and send her back. Do you think that people who support precedent from and he immigration policies are racist. Anyone who supports this is supporting races. SS not seasonal yes since the the only people local actually buy into this president's hateful rhetoric around immigrants are people who don't know it. We have an opportunity to build an American majority. Around immigration reform. In my community a group of conservative Republicans rallied around an individual a beloved local individual who was deported. When he went into ice to try to get his paperwork sort out because they never thought it would happen to him. In some of the most conservative rural areas of Iowa I have seen communities that embraced immigration grow and that's why part of my plan. For revitalizing the economies of rule America. Includes community renewal vis us that would allow cities and towns and counties that are hurting not only for jobs for population. To embrace immigration as we have in my city. No the only reason that South Bend his role right now. After years of shrinking. Is immigration. It's one of the reasons we act. Acted not waiting for Washington to create city issued municipal like he's so the people regardless of immigration status. In our city had the opportunity to have the benefits of identification. We have an opportunity actually. Get something done what we cannot allow this to continue to be the same debate the same arguments in the same. Clever lines often among the same people since the last real reform. Happened in the 1980s. We have to actually engage the American majority. Around the opportunities for not just growth and small communities but our values values will be welcome values of faith that all argue. For us to manage this humanely and in a way that marries our values with our loss. Go to C summit the road when opening the bottom fifth. In an interview. Eight months ago you were asked what to do with a so called over sayers people who come with a recent incident. And you said I don't know do you have an ounce or non. I do in an if you read the rest of that article in the Washington Post a talked about harmonizing our entry exit system with Mexico in the same way that we do with Canada. I think that could help us to keep a handle on. Visa overstays but I think the larger question there were trying to get out. Is how do we rewrite this country's immigration laws in our own image in the image of Houston Texas the most diverse city in the United States of America. In the image of El Paso, Texas one of the safest cities in United States of America safe. Not despite the fact that we are city of immigrants safe because we are city of immigrants going assembles. Did she get almost a similar and let's just when he got this muscle by east misses it almost up got up wrestle not going respectful he Dini god. I will need an effort to make sure we rewrite our immigration laws. In that way never cage another child make sure that there is accountability and justice for the seven lives lost under our care and our custody. But also face the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike. Voted to build a wall that has produced thousands of deaths of people trying to cross to join family or to work a job. There we have been part of deporting people hundreds of thousands just in the Obama administration. Alone who pose no threat to this country. Breaking up their families Democrats have to get off the back foot we have to lead on this issue because we know it is right legalize America begin with those more than one million dreamers who make them US citizens right now in their this. They're true home country to extend that to their parents or sisters and their Brothers. And ensure that we have a legal safe orderly system to come to this country and add to our greatness here and he joked Jorge thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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