Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Beat Goes on: Immigration Dominates the Whitman/Brown Gubernatorial Debate in Fresno


The second debate between the two candidates running for Governor of California, Meg Whitman (Rep) and Jerry Brown (Dem), in Fresno, went, as expected, with immigration dominating the questioning and each candidate sharply disagreeing with -- and aggressively attacking -- the other on the issue.  In this debate geared toward Latinos, questions were in Spanish with the candidates answering in English.  Here is a transcript, all in English.

From the first question, Brown made immigration an issue.  When asked what why Latinos should vote for him, he responded, in language that resonates, that he stated that he would

 "do the best I can to find jobs, but also to be fair. I'm going to treat everybody, whether they're documented or not, as God's child, and my brothers and sisters . . . ."

Whitman was defensive and clearly uncomfortable in responding to tough questions about the treatment of her undocumented Mexican domestic service worker.  She chastised Jerry Brown for, as she characterized it, putting Nicky Diaz at risk of deportation, which seems unlikely.  Brown denied any involvement in the disclosures about Diaz and stated that Whitman was unfit to be Governor if she would not admit responsibility for her mistake.

On substantive immigration issues, Whitman advocated increased border enforcement and a guest worker program and stated opposition to a path to legalization and the Dream Act (in answering a question from a undocumented Latina college student).  She opposes comprehensive immigration reform until the border is secure.  Emphasizing that immigration must be addressed at the federal level, Jerry Brown supports a path to legalization, the DREAM Act, securing the border, deporting criminal noncitizens, but opposes "sanctuary cities" (mentioning San Francisco by name), driver's licenses for the undocumented, and guest worker programs.  In regard to guest worker programs, Brown stated that

"You don't just bring in semi-serfs and say do our dirty work and then we're finished with you like an orange. You just throw it away."

Doesn't that sound like how Meg Whitman treated Nicky Diaz?


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