All 10 Democratic 2020 candidates at Thursday night’s debate said their healthcare plans would provide coverage to illegal immigrants.
After the candidates all explained why their health care programs would be the best way to achieve universal coverage, moderator Savannah Gurthrie asked for a show of hands about whose plans cover "undocumented immigrants." Every single candidate raised their hand.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was asked to explain his whole policy. He called for not just health care for illegal immigrants but also a pathway to citizenship for them, in addition to "cleaning up the lawful immigration system."
Former Vice President Joe Biden was asked about his plan, although Guthrie was confused about whether he raised his hand. Biden said it’s critical everyone be cared for by the government no matter what, and he also said illegal immigrants can contribute to Social Security.
"You cannot let people who are sick, no matter where they come from, no matter what their status, go uncovered. You can't do that, it's just got to be taken care of, period," Biden said.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter to mock the candidates for this stance.
"All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!? That’s the end of that race!" he wrote.
Biden also talked about "reducing overall cost of health care" by getting illegal immigrants insurance and not just going into the emergency room. He even said there should be prosecution for drug company executives, which would ultimately save money.
Buttigieg elaborated on his own position by saying it’s "not a handout."
"This is not about a handout. This is an insurance program," he said. "We do ourselves no favors by having 11 million undocumented people in our country be unable to access health care. The real problem is we shouldn't have 11 million undocumented people with no pathway to citizenship. It makes no sense. The American people agree on what to do. This is a crazy thing."