IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.
Last updated

Democratic candidates forum at NALEO conference in Miami

Sen. Elizabeth Warren debuted a new policy proposal, while Mayor Pete Buttigieg touted an ID card program for undocumented immigrants in South Bend.
Image: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks on stage at the Presidential Candidate Forum hosted by NALEO at Telemundo Center in Miami
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks on stage at the Presidential Candidate Forum hosted by NALEO at Telemundo Center in Miami on June 21, 2019.Carlo Allegri / Reuters

A number of Democratic presidential candidates appeared at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference in Miami Friday.

Klobuchar responds to question about past support for making English official language of U.S.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was forced to revisit a controversial vote from early in her Senate tenure in support of a Republican-proposed bill amendment that would have made English the official language of the United States. 

Klobuchar, responding to a question Friday during the NALEO presidential forum from Telemundo journalist Vanessa Hauc, said that she would no longer support such a measure.

“I would not support an amendment, any longer, to make English the official language, because I understand now what that would mean to people in the community, in terms of having interpretations on voting and — descriptions on things … So let's make that clear.”

In June 2007, six months into her first term, Klobuchar did in fact vote in favor of an amendment to an immigration reform bill that would have made English the official national language. The amendment passed, but the bill died in the Senate and never became law.

Castro says his Latino heritage would help him carry several battleground states

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said Friday at the NALEO presidential forum that, if he were to become the Democratic presidential nominee, his Latino heritage would help him carry several key battleground states and win the presidency.

“If I do run against the president, I'm confident that I can get a much larger share of the Latino community that any Democratic nominee has been able to get, probably ever,” he told reporters at the Miami conference, following his speech.

He added that the “the percentage turnout, the turnout rate of Latinos would jump significantly if I’m the nominee and help win Florida, Texas and Arizona, and places like Nevada and Colorado.”

Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, is of Mexican descent.

Sanders says Congress should de-fund census if citizenship question added

On a day when multiple presidential candidates were asked about how they would deal with the question about citizenship status that the Trump administration has ordered added to the next census, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was the only one to say that Congress should withhold funding for the count if the question is appended.

Speaking at the NALEO presidential forum in Miami, Sanders said, “we should talk about what might be able to be done in the next several months. And that is the Congress has the ability to pass language which says, ‘We will not fund something unless something is eliminated.”

“And I think it was a damn good idea to say that we're not gonna fund money for the census unless that absolutely bigoted language is taken out of the census,” he said.

The Supreme Court is now considering whether the Trump Commerce Department acted properly in ordering the Census Bureau to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census form that goes to every U.S. household, despite warnings from populous states that doing so would actually make the count less accurate.

WATCH: Hear from all the candidates who attended the forum

Here is the entire NALEO presidential forum from the group's Friday conference in Miami.

Dems swing at Trump and pledge action on health care and immigration

Eight of the 20-something Democratic presidential candidates took pledges Friday to improve access to health care and take swift action on immigration at the largest Latino political gathering of the year.

The speed-dating-style forum followed President Donald Trump’s campaign kickoff on Tuesday in Orlando, Florida, a swing state where the Latino vote is in play for both parties.

The Democrats largely focused on raising their profiles with the Latino group. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas showed off their bilingual skills, sprinkling in a few words and phrases in Spanish.

Read more

Elizabeth Warren touts proposal to ban private prisons; stocks drop

Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren used her speech Friday at the NALEO forum to tout her freshly unveiled policy proposal to ban private prisons and detention facilities.

“There's too much profit now in the system. And that's why I have a plan to push the private profits out of the incarceration system,” Warren told the crowd. “And that means both in our criminal justice system and in our immigration system.”

Warren had released the policy earlier Friday in a post on Medium, but tied its contents to problems in the U.S. immigration system — a central theme at the NALEO event.

Shares of major private prison companies fell Friday afternoon (as of 2:40 p.m. ET, GEO Group shares were down 6.6 percent and CoreCivic shares were down 6 percent), in a sign that the stock market could be taking Warren's presidential run seriously.

WATCH: Latino, Hispanic voters split on 2020 candidates as Democrats speak at Latino forum

Many Hispanic and Latino voters in Florida remain undecided on which candidates they'd vote for in the 2020 election, with some split between centrists like former Vice President Joe Biden and candidates like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, NBC News' Mariana Atencio reports.

Buttigieg is finally talking about his 'Community Resident Card' program

Earlier this month, NBC News reported on how South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg had implemented an innovative, first-of-its-kind governmentally endorsed, privately run “Community Resident Card” program that helped the city’s undocumented population access city services without fear that their names or immigration status might end up in the hands of authorities or anti-immigrant groups.

It was a significant and creative policy accomplishment for the 37-year-old mayor and 2020 Democratic  presidential candidate. But — as NBC News pointed out in the story — Buttigieg never talks about it. The program isn’t promoted on his campaign website, nor given a word in his memoir. And Buttigieg has never even mentioned it on the campaign trail.

Until now.

Speaking Friday morning to the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), in Miami, Buttigieg finally touted his program publicly.

“This was a priority for me, because it was a priority for so many in the community. We have a growing and vibrant Latino community in South Bend,” he said. “And not all of those individuals are documented.”

“My responsibility, as a mayor, is, in fact, not only to citizens but to residents. And what we realized is that we had many residents who were not able to access things that the rest of us take for granted,” Buttigieg added.