Clinton, Sanders Race to the Left on Immigration
'I would not deport children'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2016 9:18 PM CST
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks as Hillary Clinton listens during the Univision-Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami Dade College on Wednesday in Florida.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(Newser) – Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders spent Wednesday's Democratic debate in Florida trying "to get to the left of each other on immigration," as Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight puts it. Both candidates said they wouldn't deport children or people who aren't criminals. "I want to prioritize who would be deported," Politico quotes Clinton. "Violent criminals, people planning terrorist attacks, anybody who threatens us. That's a relatively small universe." Instead, she said she wants to "see [noncriminals] on a path to citizenship," according to ABC News. Meanwhile, Sanders called Donald Trump's immigration plan—which he characterized as rounding up 11 million people in the middle of the night and deporting them—a "vulgar, absurd idea."

Both Clinton and Sanders distanced themselves from the immigration policies of President Obama, who has been criticized for raids targeting undocumented immigrants, the Washington Post reports. This makes sense as Latinos tend to change their opinion on candidates based on their stance on immigration, while other demographics seem not to care, according to Enten at FiveThirtyEight. For example, Obama got a 12% approval rating bump among Latinos in 2014 following an executive order granting temporary legal status; no other group changed their opinion on him. Clinton was able to hit Sanders on voting for a bill that would protect the so-called Minutemen patrolling along the border. He argued that it was a small part of a larger bill.