The Constitution at the Democratic Debate in Milwauke

February 12th, 2016

Tonight Sen. Sanders and Sec. Clinton had a head-to-head debate in Milwaukee.

First, the issue of President Obama’s executive action on immigration came up and Judy Woodruff asked Sanders if he would “go further” than DAPA. He said he would use “executive orders” for the benefit of all 11 million aliens who are in the United States illegally.

Woodruff: Senator Sanders, one of the causes of anxiety for working class Americans is connected to immigrants. President Obama, as you know, has issued executive actions to permit some 5 million undocumented immigrants who are living now in the United States to come out of the shadows without fear of deportation to get work permits. Would you go further than that? And if so, how specifically would you do it? Should an undocumented family watching this debate tonight, say, in Nevada, rest easy, not fear of further deportations under a Sanders presidency?

SANDERS: The answer is yes. We’ve got 11 million undocumented people in this country. I have talked to some of the young kids with tears rolling down their cheeks, are scared to death that today they may or their parents may be deported.

I believe that we have got to pass comprehensive immigration reform, something that I strongly supported. I believe that we have got to move toward a path toward citizenship. I agree with President Obama who used executive orders to protect families because the Congress, the House was unable or refused to act.

And in fact I would go further. What would motivate me and what would be the guiding light for me in terms of immigration reform, Judy, is to bring families together, not divide them up.

And let me say this also. Somebody who is very fond of the president, agrees with him most of the time, I disagree with his recent deportation policies. And I would not support those.

Bottom line is a path towards citizenship for 11 million undocumented people, if Congress doesn’t do the right thing, we use the executive orders of the president.

Sec. Clinton, who has previously said she would grant deferred actions to the parents of the Dreamers, did not go as far as Sanders:

CLINTON: I strongly support the president’s executive actions. I hope the Supreme Court upholds them. I think there is constitutional and legal authority for the president to have done what he did.

Clinton also repeated a refrain, that before there was Obamacare there was Hillarycare.

CLINTON: I can only say that we both share the goal of universal health care coverage. You know, before it was called Obamacare, it was called Hillarycare.

I have previously blogged about how the candidates discuss the Supreme Court, including Marco Rubio (herehereherehere, and here), Jeb Bush (here and here), Rand Paul (here and here), Ted Cruz (here and here), Hillary Clinton (here, hereherehere, and here), and Bernie Sanders (here and here).

Disclosure: I support the Ted Cruz campaign.