Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., right, speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., listens. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Latest: Dems decry Trump admin's immigration policies

June 27, 2019 - 9:56 pm

MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on the second Democratic presidential debate (all times local):

9:55 p.m.

The Democratic candidates squaring off on the second night of presidential debates are decrying the Trump administration's immigration policies, but in different ways than those who debated the previous night.

California Sen. Kamala Harris promised Thursday to use her first day in office to help people brought to the country illegally as children become citizens. She declared she'd use "the microphone that the president of the United States holds in her hand" to be a voice for real reform on the issue.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he'd invest in Central America. Sen. Bernie Sanders promised to repeal "every damn thing" President Donald Trump has done on immigration.

On Wednesday, Democratic presidential hopefuls blamed Trump for a searing photograph of a father and his daughter lying dead near the Rio Grande.


9:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Democratic White House contenders' willingness to extend government health care to people in the country illegally will get him reelected.

Trump is at a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Japan. But he said that he "passed a TV set" and saw the Democrats debating.

All Democrats on the stage for the second night of the debates Thursday in Miami raised their hands when asked if they would give health care to migrants in the country illegally.

Trump tweeted: "All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!?"

He then added: "That's the end of that race!"


9:45 p.m.

All 10 candidates at the second Democratic presidential debate say their proposals for government health insurance would include coverage for immigrants in the country illegally.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, argued Thursday that not discriminating against covering all immigrants is humane, fiscally responsible and a matter of public health.

Buttigieg says even immigrants in the country illegally pay sales taxes, indirect or direct property taxes and, in many cases, payroll taxes.

Biden says covering everyone means more people would get primary care and wouldn't have to wait until they needed emergency room care that taxpayers have to finance. Federal law already requires ERs to treat anyone in need.

President Donald Trump immediately tweeted about Democrats' answers, saying, "that's the end of the race."


9:40 p.m.

Only two of the 10 candidates on the second night of the 2020 Democratic presidential debate raised their hands when asked who supported abolishing private health insurance.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and California Sen. Kamala Harris both signaled their support for "Medicare for All" and eliminating private insurance.

Sanders has long championed a Medicare-style system to cover all Americans' health care services.

The question was also asked on Wednesday to the first 10 debate candidates. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were the only two to raise their hands.


9:35 p.m.

Several Democratic presidential candidates are talking about the importance of health insurance in their personal lives as their family members were dying or they dealt with their own illnesses.

Vice President Joe Biden recalled during Thursday's Democratic presidential debate the deaths of his first wife and baby daughter and, years later, his adult son. He says the best way to ensure all Americans have coverage is to build on "Obamacare" rather than to pass "Medicare For All."

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) says as his father was dying earlier this year, he didn't have to make medical decisions based on cost because his father had Medicare. He says all people should have the option to access "Medicare for all who want it."

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet spoke about his cancer diagnosis earlier this year.


9:30 p.m.

Generational differences have quickly taken center stage at the second night of the Democratic presidential debate, with a light shown on the age of 76-year-old front-runner Joe Biden.

Thirty-eight-year-old California Rep. Eric Swalwell recalled being only 6 years old when he saw Biden speak, saying the former senator and vice president was "right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans."

Biden retorted, "I'm still holding onto that torch."

Biden's contemporary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, argued the issue "is not generational," insisting the field should be focused on things like "who has the guts to take on Wall Street."

California Sen. Kamala Harris added her voice to the fray, saying, "Hey, guys. You wanna know what America does not want to witness? A food fight. They want to know how they're going to put food on the table."


9:25 p.m.

Three of the senators running for president are calling for health care reform without even waiting for questions about it.

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado said at Thursday's Democratic presidential debate that he agreed with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that "health care is a right" for all Americans. But he questioned Sanders' "Medicare for All" plan that would extend coverage to everyone in the country, saying the U.S. isn't ready for it.

Sanders smirked as he listened to Bennet's answer before defending his plan. Then, unprompted, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand jumped in and said that she wrote the portion of the bill that Sanders had proposed that would transition the country toward Medicare for All plans.

Struggling to restore order, the moderators said repeatedly that they'd "get to" health care questions later.


9:20 p.m.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is defending his warnings on the Democratic Party veering toward socialism.

Hickenlooper said Thursday at the second Democratic presidential debate that if Democrats fail to clearly define themselves as not being socialists, Republicans are going to come at the party "every way they can and call us socialists."

Hickenlooper says, "We can't promise every American a government job."

The former governor also expressed reluctance to the Green New Deal and eliminating private medical insurance.


9:15 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the first to invoke Donald Trump during the second round of the Democratic presidential debate, blasting the Republican president for crediting wealthy Americans for building the nation.

Biden said Thursday that "ordinary middle-class Americans built America."

Biden says Trump has "put us in a horrible situation," by signing tax cuts that favor higher-income Americans. Biden says he would make "massive cuts" in the 2017 act's loopholes and be "about eliminating Donald Trump's tax cuts for the wealthy."

However, Biden did not address directly the question to him, which was about comments he made during a recent fundraiser, where he assured donors their lifestyles would not suffer by the tax cut reversal.


9:10 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is acknowledging that his proposals for sweeping government programs would require middle-class Americans to pay more taxes. But he says they'd still spend less on health care under his system than they do today through the private insurance system.

Sanders is a self-professed democratic socialist who wants a Medicare-style system to cover all Americans' health care services. He says he'd make public colleges and universities tuition free and eliminate existing student debt.

Sanders said Thursday at the second Democratic presidential debate that education proposals would be paid for by taxes on the wealthy and corporations. But he confirms that other Americans would have to pay more taxes for his health care program, in lieu of the existing system of private premiums, deductibles and co-pays.


9 a.m.

The second debate of the 2020 Democratic presidential debate is kicking off with 10 more candidates, including many of the leading White House hopefuls.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is center stage Thursday night in Miami alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Joining them for the two-hour event are two other top contenders: California Sen. Kamala (KAH'-mah-lah) Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj). At either end will be the candidates polling at the bottom of the field: author Marianne Williamson and California congressman Eric Swalwell.

Candidates will not get opening statements but will have time for closings.

Ten other candidates debated on Wednesday, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

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