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July Democratic Debate: Live updates from night 2

NBC News' live blog with the latest news coverage from the 2nd night of the second Democratic debate hosted by CNN for the 2020 presidential election.
Image: The second Democratic debate, hosted by CNN, is taking place over two nights in Detroit with 10 candidates on stage each night.
The second night of the Democratic debate, hosted by CNN, is taking place in Detroit with 10 more candidates on stage.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

That's a wrap for the second Democratic debate. Joe Biden came under fire (a lot), and health care was once again a focal point. See how the evening unfolded below and click here for all your fact-checks.

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Live Blog

Fact check: Biden touts his role in aid sent to Central American countries

“I already proposed and passed $750 million for Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to be able to change the circumstances of why people fled in the first place," Biden said Wednesday night during the debate.

This is true. 

Biden led the White House effort to send aid directly to the Northern Triangle countries, and a bipartisan Congress approved $750 million in funding. However, the U.S. began diverting that money in 2019.

De Blasio and Booker press Biden on Obama’s immigration record

Biden has invoked Obama’s record on the campaign trail but stumbled when pressed by de Blasio on if he used his power to tell Obama that his record number of immigrant deportations was bad policy. “Did he use his power to stop those deportations?” de Blasio said. “If you’re debating Donald Trump he won't let you off the hook.” 

Biden argued that he “was vice president, not president,” and would not disclose private advice he may have given to the president. 

Booker then jumped in and told Biden “you can’t have it both ways.” The former vice president said it was insulting that they were insinuating that Obama was similar to Trump.

This might be a theme during the rest of the night and the campaign. If, as Booker pointed out, Biden wants to use the good parts of Obama’s record, he will have to also answer a lot of the criticism Obama received during his presidency, including being the so-called deporter-in-chief.

De Blasio reaches out to protesters

De Blasio’s team used Twitter to reach out to the protesters who shouted ‘Fire Pantaleo!’ — a reference to Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold that caused a fatal asthma attack.

Rev. Kirsten John Foy and other protesters spoke to reporters after being escorted out of the CNN debate for interrupting de Blasio’s opening remarks.

Foy said his group was there to protest de Blasio’s handing of the Eric Garner case. The group clarified they were not interrupting Booker, but rather yelling “fire Pantaleo” during de Blasio's remarks, and then they were removed. 

There have been 50 attacks in the first 50 minutes of tonight's debate

Right now, Joe Biden is the most-attacked candidate so far AND ALSO has delivered the most attacks. 

Another big target of the night: Donald Trump. The president has been attacked 19 times so far. 

Follow our live tracker here.

It was left vs. center. Now, it’s everyone vs. Biden.

Last night’s debate featured the more progressive candidates, Warren and Sanders, fending off centrists who sought to poke holes in their plans. 

There’s been some of that tonight on health care, but Biden has been on the defensive on immigration — including tough questions on the Obama administration’s record on the issue.

Castro stance on decriminalizing border crossings is not a popular one

Julián Castro led off the immigration section with a defense of his idea that illegal border crossings should be decriminalized.

It's an issue that helped Castro get a nice bump after last debate, when he mixed it up with Beto O'Rourke on the issue.

But that's not a very popular stance among Americans at large. A recent NPR/PBS/Marist poll found that only 27 percent of Americans thought decriminalizing border crossings was a good idea, compared to 66 percent who said it was a bad idea. Democrats were split on the issue, with 45 percent calling it a good idea, and 47 percent calling it a bad idea.

Castro and Biden square off on immigration

Castro and Biden — both former Obama administration officials — jousted off over immigration in the debate.

Biden questioned why someone who crosses the border illegally should not be prosecuted criminally. Castro believes that federal law needs to be streamlined to make it a civil infraction. Biden was questioned about Obama’s deportation record, which the former vice president said he would not follow if elected but still make it a criminal offense to cross the border illegally. Castro slammed Biden, saying he hasn’t learned the lessons of the past. 

“What we need is politicians who actually have some guts on this issue,” Castro said. 

 “I have guts enough to say his plan doesn't make sense,” Biden shot back. 

Castro in the last debate carved out a lane in being the candidate who aggressively debated immigration reform. This moment was no different.

Inslee gets huge applause for calling Trump a 'white nationalist'

"We can no longer allow a white nationalist to be in the White House," he said.

Fact check: Is decriminalizing border crossings the only way to stop family separations?

Castro argued this on Wednesday when asked about his immigration plan.

"The only way that we're going to guarantee that we don’t have family separations in this county again is to repeal section 1325 of the immigration nationality act. That is the law that this president, this administration is using to incarcerate migrant parents and then physically separate them from their children," Castro said.

Section 1325 is the portion of U.S. immigration law that makes entering the U.S. illegally a criminal offense. Simply being in the U.S. without authorization is a civil offense — and people who are found to be in the U.S. without papers can be deported — but section 1325 adds a layer of criminality. 

Castro is correct in his description of how the law is being used, but his overall claim isn't historically accurate. The family separation policy was introduced by the Trump administration, but Section 1325 has existed for decades without resulting in the separation of thousands of children from their families. 

Yang pivots immigration conversation away from border and toward economy

Yang hasn’t gotten much time, but he’s differentiated himself with some unique points.

On immigration, he talks about the contributions of his parents to the U.S. technology sector, and then uses it to turn to one of his favorite talking points — the economic impact of automation.

Biden echoes GOP talking points on immigration