From NBC News’ Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas:
VANESSA HAUC, TELEMUNDO: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator.
Our next question goes to Senator Klobuchar. About 700,000 young people known as Dreamers, or Sonadores, who were brought to this country as children, are currently protected from deportation because of a program that is now under the review by the Supreme Court. If the court sides with the Trump administration, which is eager to end this protection, what exactly is your plan to protect the Dreamers permanently?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR: To win, to beat Donald Trump. The best way to protect the Dreamers is to have a new president. There are the votes there to protect the Dreamers. And I have been working on this since I got to the United States Senate. In my first campaign, I actually had a bunch of ads run against me because I was standing up for immigrants.
And when I think of Dreamers — and I try to explain it to my state — I found a 99-year-old Hispanic war veteran who was a Dreamer when he was brought over to this country. And back then, he just went to Canada for a night and came back and he was a permanent citizen, because they needed him to serve in World War II. Now, not so easy.
The Dreamers are our future. The Dreamers are so important in Nevada. And the best way we can get this done is to beat Donald Trump, but it is to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which creates a path to citizenship to so many hard-working people, will bring down the deficit by $158 billion, and will bring peace for these Dreamers.
HAUC: Thank you so much, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: They know no other country but our own.
HAUC: Thank you.
FMR. SOUTH BEND, IND. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: If you’re going to run based on…
HAUC: Mayor Pete?
BUTTIGIEG: If you’re going to run based on your record of voting in Washington, then you have to own those votes, especially when it comes to immigration. You voted to confirm the head of Customs and Border Protection under Trump, who is one of the architects of the family separation policy. You voted to make English the national language. Do you know the message that sends in as multilingual a state as Nevada to immigrants?
You have been unusual among Democrats, I think the Democrat among all of the senators running for president most likely to vote for Donald Trump’s judges, who we know are especially hostile to Dreamers and to the rights of immigrants.
Now, in South Bend, it was not always easy to stand up in a conservative place like Indiana on immigration. But we delivered. We created a municipal ID program so that Dreamers and others who were undocumented were able to navigate everyday life. We stood up for those rights and stood with members of our community with the message that they were as American as we are. (speaking Spanish)
HAUC: Thank you. Gracias, gracias, Mayor Pete.
KLOBUCHAR: I wish…
HAUC: Senator Klobuchar?
KLOBUCHAR: I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete. But let me tell you what it’s like to be in the arena. Number one, do the math. If my friend, Andrew Yang, was up here, that’s what he’d say.
In fact, I have opposed, not supported, two-thirds of the Trump judges, so get your numbers right. And I am in the top 10 to 15 of opposing them.
Number two, when it comes to immigration reform, the things that you are referring to, that official that you are referring to was supported by about half the Democrats, including someone in this room. And I will say this: He was highly recommended by the Obama officials. Do you know why? Because Trump had so few career people.
I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents. And in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that. And I would add one more thing. I have been in the arena.
HAUC: Thank you, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: Ted Kennedy — he had made a pretty big allegation against me again, and I think I should have a right to respond. He had…
BUTTIGIEG: I’m stating the facts, because these are votes that you took, and those votes set you alone among the Democrats running for president.