Feb 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Klobuchar squares off with Buttigieg on immigration

In this image, Buttigieg and Klobuchar stand next to each other on the debate stage.

Buttigieg and Klobuchar in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the debate stage Wednesday for voting to confirm Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and voting in 2007 to make English the national language.

What she's saying: "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. ... I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents, and in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that."

What else she's saying:

  • "... when it comes to immigration reform, the things that you are referring to, that official that you are referring to, was supported by about half the Democrats, including someone in this room," she said, adding that he was "highly recommended" by Obama officials.
  • "I'm actually so proud of the work I've done on immigration reform. And you know what, you have not been in the arena doing that work. You've memorized a bunch of talking points," Klobuchar said, to a burst of applause.

Buttigieg hit back: "I'm used to senators telling mayors that senators are more important than mayors."

Flashback: Klobuchar said over the weekend that she has "taken a strong position against" the U.S. adopting an English-language amendment, while promoting her plans for immigration reform on Friday in Las Vegas.

Go deeper: Immigration is shaping the youngest generation of voters

Go deeper