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What We Want to Hear From Candidates During Thursday’s Democratic Debate

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The 2020 Democratic candidates for president will debate this week, on Thursday, September 12, at 8:00 PM, Eastern Time. As reported by Time, for the first moment during this presidential primary season, all of the top candidates will be facing each other on the same stage during a one-night debate. Cutting the field in half, from 20 down to 10 or 11, each candidate now has a clear opportunity to speak up and take a stand on the issues that matter most to us. From Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris to Andrew Yang, Joe Biden, Julián Castro and the others, we want to know how YOU approach the issues that impact our community. Below are examples of issues and policies that we want to hear about on Thursday:

Safety and security for Marginalized Communities

Octavio Ramirez Lizarde may have physically recovered from a medical surgery, but his emotional recovery is another story. In August he endured severe injuries when a white supremacist killed 22 people and injured about 24 others at an El Paso Walmart. He watched in horror as his 15-year-old nephew Javier Rodriguez was murdered right in front of him. Now, his hope is that he and his family can heal. With every mass shooting that occurs, violence in the U.S. is becoming normalized. 

Latinos and other marginalized communities are feeling especially vulnerable. We are motivated to support a president who calls out this violence for what it is, rejects it, and can lead us toward more national inclusion. During your debate this Thursday, September 12, please tell us how you will reject violence against marginalized communities, and how you will set an inclusive and just vision for our country.

Universal Healthcare

As a community that cares deeply about equal access to healthcare, we are heartened by the general consensus among democratic candidates that health care is a human right. On Thursday, please tell us what in your healthcare policy will insure that the most vulnerable among us will never be denied healthcare, regardless of their immigration status.

Celebrating America’s Heritage as a Diverse Nation of Immigrants

While the immigrant community in the U.S. spans across a diverse array of demographics, results from a recent poll by UnidosUS conducted specifically on the National Latino Electorate resonate deeply with us: “Values diversity and brings people together” was the number one trait sought in a presidential candidate, with an overwhelming 76% of respondents ranking it highest on the scale of importance. On Thursday, please tell us about your plan for establishing gender, racial, and immigrant diversity within your cabinet and in filling other vital positions within your administration.

Short-sighted Immigration Regulations Implemented by the Trump Administration

As our own Veronika Geronimo reported yesterday, the Trump administration is seeking to change the way that the federal government decides who can attain lawful permanent residence status (who can attain a “green card”). The proposed changes have a heavy bias against low-income and other marginalized communities, and are implemented through the administration’s new “public charge” rule. According to the new regulation, 

“Public charge means an (alien) person who receives one or more public benefit… for more than 12 months in an aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).” Immigration officials will look more closely at factors like health, age, income, skills (including English language skills), and use of more public programs, including:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, “EBT” or “Food Stamps”) 
  • Federal Public Housing and Section 8 assistance • Medicaid (except for emergency services, children under 21 years, pregnant women, and new mothers) 
  • Cash assistance programs (like SSI, TANF, General Assistance)

Candidates: on Thursday, please tell us how you are acting or will act before the 2020 elections to oppose this inhumane, classist policy.

In closing, we wish to extend a hearty thank you to each of you for running for the presidency– although there is still a long way to go, we are encouraged by the diversity in the pool of democratic candidates in this primary season.

Irene Velarde is a bilingual Staff Writer on the Revolution English News Team. Irene is passionate about sharing news and resources with immigrants, and educating and engaging with Revolution English subscribers. Prior to joining the News Team, Irene worked in educational settings for more than 4 years in China and the United States.