Democratic presidential candidates talk immigration and Trump
KANSAS CITY - Three Democratic presidential hopefuls emphasized immigration reform and aid at the National Council of La Raza Conference Monday.
Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley spoke about Maryland's progress toward immigration aid during his time as governor and his own family's history as Irish immigrants. He said the United States is and has always been a nation of immigrants.
"The enduring symbol of the USA is not the barbed wire fence," O'Malley said. "It is the Statue of Liberty."
O'Malley promised immigration reform and easier access to housing and education. He also criticized Donald Trump for his recent controversial claims about Mexican immigrants. O'Malley accused Trump of "demonizing immigrants" and called him a "hate-spewing character running for president."
The final message of O'Malley's speech was how the traditional American dream should be open to immigrants.
"It is everyone who has ever risked their lives to be here," O'Malley said. "That is who believes in the American dream."
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed immigration reform in her speech but first spoke about equal pay for women. She called for an end to the wage gap and more resources for women who want to work and take care of their families.
"When families are held back, America is held back," Clinton said. "I will always fight to put families first."
Clinton also called for greater access to preschool for children.
Like O'Malley, Clinton criticized Trump's recent comments about Mexican immigrants. She called them "appalling" and said she had enough.
"I'm running for everyone who's ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out," Clinton said.
Former Vermont senator Bernie Sanders stressed the need for serious immigration reform in Congress. Like O'Malley and Clinton, Sanders criticized Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants.
"Let me be very clear in stating that no one, not Donald Trump, not anyone else will be successful in dividing us by our race or our country of origin," Sanders said.
All three candidates received standing ovations after their speeches.