The VP Candidates Had The Immigration Debate That Clinton And Trump Should Have

FARMVILLE, Va. — At the first presidential debate, Trump’s signature wall along the U.S.-Mexican border did not come up.

On Tuesday, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence dove deep into immigration, retreating to their respective sides, debating both the merits of Clinton and Trump’s plans — the most expansively liberal and restrictive immigration plans, respectively, in recent decades — but also accusing each other of being the extreme ticket on the issue.

Pence began by saying Trump laid out a plan to end illegal immigration once and for all, leaning on Trump’s fiery Phoenix speech, in which he said his great wall would rise in the south, “criminal aliens” had to be deported, and visa overstays and sanctuary cities had to come to an end, all because the wages of American workers were being driven down.

But the conversation on immigration from the two vice presidential nominees also heavily reflected the charged way the issue has been used during the 2016 race, with Pence claiming that Clinton advocates “open borders.” (Her campaign quickly sought to refute, sending out an email linking to fact-checking website Politifact, which said it was a “huge distortion” of her proposals.)

Kaine, who whiffed on canned lines during the debate at moments early in the debate, delivered his immigration one more successfully.

“Hillary and I believe in comprehensive immigration reform,” Kaine said, while “Donald Trump believes in deportation nation. You’ve got to pick your choice.”

Kaine said the campaign’s plans revolve chiefly around keeping families together, while focusing enforcement efforts on those who are violent, and allowing undocumented immigrants in the country who are working hard and paying taxes to eventually become citizens.

But Kaine too had a whopper for Pence — Trump wants to deport 16 million people, Kaine charged, adding the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country illegally and 4.5 million children of immigrants who benefitted from the 14th Amendment to the constitution, which confers birthright citizenship.

By Adrian Carrasquillo for BUZZFEED NEWS
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