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TRANSCRIPT: HON. AMY KLOBUCHAR AT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FORUM HOSTED BY NALEO AT TELEMUNDO CENTER

This is a rush transcript and it’s subject to change.

Rules of use: Mandatory first mention to “NALEO Candidate Forum Hosted by NALEO at Telemundo Center”.

Photography: Please visit NBC Media Village to download pictures.

NALEO is hosting the presidential candidate forum in partnership with Presenting Sponsor Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo as part of this year’s NALEO 36thAnnual Conference (June 20-22, 2019). Taking place on June 21 at Telemundo Center headquarters in Miami, the Forum is offering candidates a unique opportunity to engage Latino leadership on the issues that matter most to the Latino community. Next follows a transcript of Hon. Amy Klobuchar's participation.

This is a rush transcript and it’s subject to change.

Rules of use: Mandatory first mention to “NALEO Candidate Forum Hosted by NALEO at Telemundo Center”.

Photography: Please visit NBC Media Village to download pictures.

NALEO is hosting the presidential candidate forum in partnership with Presenting Sponsor Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo as part of this year’s NALEO 36thAnnual Conference (June 20-22, 2019). Taking place on June 21 at Telemundo Center headquarters in Miami, the Forum is offering candidates a unique opportunity to engage Latino leadership on the issues that matter most to the Latino community. Next follows a transcript of Hon. Amy Klobuchar participation.

VANESSA HAUC: Thank you, Senator Sanders. And our final guest this morning is Senator Amy Klobuchar. Senator Klobuchar, welcome--

AMY KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, thank you. Thank you so much--

ARTURO VARGAS: Hello, Senator.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

VANESSA HAUC: Senator, you have one minute for your opening remarks.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: Buenos dias.

AUDIENCE: Buenos dias.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: I'm Amy Klobuchar. I'm the senator from Minnesota. I believe that immigrants don't diminish America. They are America. (APPLAUSE) My background is this. I-- my grandpa was an iron ore miner. He worked 1,500 feet underground. He saved money in a coffee can to send my dad to college, 'cause he couldn't even go to high school.

My mom grew up in Milwaukee. She came over to Minnesota to be a teacher. She taught second grade, until she was 70 years old. And I stand before you today, because of immigrants. My mom was the daughter of immigrants, my dad, the great grand-- great-grandson of immigrants.

I stand before you today, the granddaughter of an iron ore miner, the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman, and the first woman elected to the Senate from the state of Minnesota, and a candidate for president of the United States. That is the immigrant story in America.

And I got into politics-- because my daughter was kicked out of the hospital. And I was kicked out of the hospital. She got to be in intensive care. But I'm kicked out of there, while she's sitting there in intensive care. And I went to the legislature. And I got one of the first laws in the country passed guaranteeing new moms and their babies a 48-hour hospital stay.

So I came into politics, 'cause I saw that something was wrong. And something is wrong in our country right now-- with a president that sends out mean tweets every morning, going after immigrants, when in fact, we should be working and getting comprehensive immigration reform and economic opportunity for all in this country. That is America.

VANESSA HAUC: Thank you, Senator. So your first question, when you were campaigning for Senate in 2006, you supported the building of a fence on the border. And you opposed Social Security for undocumented immigrants. Then you voted yes on a republican-- proposed amendment that would have made English the official language of the U.S. government.

This measure would disenfranchise thousands of Latinos that basically take their driving exams in Spanish and, also, their voter registrations in Spanish. Senator Klobuchar, why should the Latino community support your candidacy for president?

AMY KLOBUCHAR: Good questions. First of all, I think most all democrats, nearly all democrats, voted for that original bill-- which is the bill for comprehensive immigration reform-- that Senator Ted Kennedy led. And it was not a perfect bill. And of course, I would make changes to it now. And we did in the bill that I worked on-- in 2012.

And I would not support an amendment-- any longer, to make English-- the official language. Because I understand now what that would mean to people in the community-- in terms of-- w-- having interpretations on voting and-- descriptions on things, and you named a number of them. So let's make that clear.

But I think-- when you look at the bills and how they changed over time-- they reflect America. And they reflect this change. I've actually been a leader on this, on the Judiciary Committee-- working on the bill that we passed in 2013. And why do I care so much about this? Because I care about America. This is an issue of moral clarity for all of us.

We all stand on the shoulders of immigrants. Look at the facts. 70 of our Fortune 500 companies are led by people from other countries. We have 25% of our U.S. Nobel Laureates were born in other countries. America-- again, immigrants don't diminish America. They are America.

And you look at the kinds of things we need other get done. We have a president-- that has taken steps-- that are incredibly negative, not just for immigrants, but for our economy, the way he's split people at the border. That's why, I my plan that I've put out for my first 100 days as your president, I would, first of all-- make sure that we stop this assault on immigrants.

We would-- make sure that we-- rescind his policies on the temporary-status people, right, that he's trying to push out from El Salvador, from Honduras, from Venezuela. We would change that. We would protect the Dreamers. I want to make the point to my state of the importance of Dreamers.

I found a 99-year-old Hispanic war veteran-- named Joseph Medina. And that guy-- had fought in World War II, under General MacArthur. He told me that, when he signed up, that's when he found out-- that he was undocumented. He had been brought there as a five-year-old.

And he said, back then, they went to Canada. And they stayed in a hotel room for one night. And then the Army brought them back. And then they were citizens. He stood with me with a number of high-school students, who wanted to serve and serve in our Air Force. But they couldn’t, because of changes in American policy. So I think the point here is that, if we wanna have a country that protects America's security, that means immigrants. If we wanna have an economy that works, that means immigrants. And that's why I so strongly supported comprehensive immigration reform. Every vote I've had, every moment I've had to support it, I have. And I strongly oppose Donald Trump's policies.

VANESSA HAUC: Thank you, Senator. Your next question comes from Arturo.

ARTURO VARGAS: Thank you, Vanessa. Senator, we've asked this question of all the candidates, because of how important the issue is to the Latino community and to this organization, in particular. Next year, the country will experience a constitutionally required decennial census under circumstances and policies that researchers, practitioners, and three federal courts have said will result in an undercount, especially of Latinos. Now, if you are elected president, the census will have occurred. But what would you do to remedy the 2020 count? And how will you restore credibility and integrity to the census?

AMY KLOBUCHAR: Okay, first of all, I would immediately, as president, in my first 100 days-- get rid of that citizenship question, if it is still on there. That's the number one. Number two, we will have to have a recount, if the Supreme Court-- persists-- in including this question on there.

New evidence has recently come out, even after they had the oral argument on this case in the Supreme Court, that a republican operative-- actually-- they found, when he died, they found his materials. And in it, he showed, clearly-- what their motivation was.

And he said that this would help republicans, if they got-- if they put the citizenship question on the census. So I hope the Supreme Court is going to consider that, as they make their decision, how they're going to handle this procedurally. But if they don't, I think that we must have a recount.

I think that this is wrong. It was done for politically motivated reasons. They are using the people of this country as a pawn. And you've got the Hispanic community, who already was undercounted by 1.5%-- in the last census, in 2012-- in 2010. And this would make it even worse.

It matters for voting. It matters for benefits. And the old thing they always say in Washington is, if you don't have a seat at the table, you're on the menu. And that is exactly what's going to happen-- if we don't have-- if we continue-- to have that citizenship question on the census.

VANESSA HAUC:

Senator, your last question will come from California Insurance Commissioner and NALEO Board Secretary Ricardo Lara. He's a democrat.

RICARDO LARA: Bienvenido, señora.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: Buenos dais.

RICARDO LARA: The next president is going to have to address a persistent economic and disparities facing Americans of different races and ethnicities. How does your particular background and experience inform your ability to ensure that the American dream is within everyone's reach?

AMY KLOBUCHAR: Thank you for that question. So as I said, I don't come from money. I come from a place-- where you have to believe that, no matter where you come from, no matter who you look like, no matter who you know, no matter who you love, no matter where you worship, that you can get ahead in the United States of America.

And that's how I got into politics. I told you my story of getting kicked out of the hospital, when my daughter was in intensive care, after 24 hours. Growing up-- my dad struggled with alcoholism. My mom-- my parents got divorced, when I was 16 years old. And it was something' that I always believed that you've got to have a fair and even playing field to get ahead.

So my problem with this president right now, when you look at this tax bill-- that added $1 trillion to the debt, where most of those benefits go to the wealthiest at the top. That does not help Americans move ahead. When you look at my background, if my grandpa didn't have unions that came in and helped and made those mines safer, I probably wouldn't be here today, right?

You look at the kind of playing field that you need for people to succeed, if they come from nothing. It's not the world that Donald Trump envisioned. It's not the world that he wants to see for all of us. And so the other thing I'd add to it-- is just that, when I got to the Senate, I represented a state that has a proud Hispanic population.

But we also have a lot of refugees in our state. We have people-- from Somalia. And we have people (UNINTEL) that basically-- have been l-- had been left out and had nothing, when they got to our state. So these meanspirited words of Donald Trump and these policies have hurt the Hispanic community. But they have also hurt everyone that looks different in this country. I remember the story of a family that went out to dinner. And-- they were Muslim. And they're sitting there at a restaurant. And this guy walks by. And he looks at them.

And this could happen to any Hispanics, as well. And he says, "You four, go home. You go home to where you came from." And the little girl looks at her mom. And she says, "Mom, I don't want to go home and eat dinner tonight. You said we could eat out tonight." You think of the words of that innocent child.

She didn't even know what he was talking about. Because she only knows one home. And that's my state. That's your state. She only knows one home. That's the United States of America. That's where I'm coming from, when it comes to immigrants.

VANESSA HAUC: Senator Klobuchar, you have one minute for your closing remarks--

AMY KLOBUCHAR: Okay, thank you. This is a moment in time like no other. We've always had this shared sense of responsibility and shared prosperity in this country. And that means we look out for each other, and we have each other's backs. Right now, we have someone in the White House that tries to divide us every single day.

He does it based on race. He does it based on immigrant status. He does it by tweet. He does it by words. And I've always believed-- that we are an America that must work together. And so that's why I ask for your support. I come from the middle of the country.

I come from a background that's different than Donald Trump's (LAUGH) and a lot of the other candidates in this race. But I am someone who has always brought people with me. And I have talked about immigration reform. And I have talked about what's going on at the border-- nearly every campaign stop I've gone to.

I've done it in all-white audiences. Because I've got a lotta those in rural Minnesota, right? And I have done it-- all over this country. Because I believe it's an economic imperative to include people at the table and in our economy. And so for me, it is policies like not just immigration reform. It is making sure that we've got an increase in the minimum wage. It is making sure that we've got childcare available to people, that we have paid family leave-- that we-- do something to-- make people understand-- that we have-- need workers right now in our fields and in our hospitals and starting small businesses.

And we have so many incredible examples of Hispanics that have achieved in our country. Probably one of my proudest moments, I'm on the Judiciary Committee, was being at the swearing in for Sonia Sotomayor, right, and seeing her-- seeing her at that moment and what she meant and watching those-- little girls run up to her, boys too, but a lotta little girls, run up to her and give her a hug.

That is the kind of thing that changes America right now. And that's what, I think, you've heard from some fantastic candidates today. But that's what we want to do. We had a great leader in Barack Obama, right? So we know-- we know what can happen, when we put people at the top that believe that our country-- should reflect-- the people with our country.

And that's what I want to do. So I want to thank you so much for having me today. I am focused. And my top-three priorities are climate change, economic agenda, and immigration reform every single place I go. And I vow to you that I will not just do the things I can do in the first 100 days. But I know where those republican votes are. And I will get immigration reform done in the first year, when I'm your president. Thank you.

VANESSA HAUC: Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Senator. Thank you very much.

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