Fresh off an upset victory in Michigan the night before, Bernie Sanders sparred with Hillary Clinton on immigration at a debate in Miami Wednesday night, ahead of Florida’s primary Tuesday.
Facing questions in English and Spanish at the debate, hosted by Univision and The Washington Post, Clinton and Sanders drew a sharp line in the sand on deportation policies, which could haunt them down the road: Both pledged they would not deport children nor undocumented adults without criminal records.
Univision host Jorge Ramos notably pressed Clinton, who in the past took a hard line in calls to deport a surge of migrant children. Asked if her newly compassionate approach toward deportation policies extended toward adults, the former secretary of state appeared to include even immigrants caught entering the U.S. illegally in the past.
“Of the undocumented people living in our country, I do not want to see them deported, I want to see them on a path to citizenship,” Clinton said.
That’s a notable split from the policies of President Obama, especially for Clinton, who has repeatedly dinged Sanders for breaking with Obama in the past and pledged to continue his policies.
It also set high expectations on immigration for whomever emerges as the Democratic nominee. Both candidates have vowed to introduce comprehensive immigration reform as a priority, and their promises to not deport broad swaths of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country raises the stakes — particularly in the face of a divided government.
By ALEX SEITZ-WALD and AMANDA SAKUMA of NBC News
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