Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders grapple over immigration one day after historic Michigan upset

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The Independent US

Just one day after Bernie Sanders pulled off a historic upset over Hillary Clinton in the Michigan presidential primary, the pair did battle in a Democratic debate in Miami hosted by Univision and the Washington Post.

While it was only Democrats at the debate, the shadow of Republican front-runner Donald Trump loomed large over the stage. Mr Sanders mentioned him in his opening remarks and the second question to the candidates was about Mr Trump's character.

"I think that the American people are never going to elect a president who insults Mexican, who insults Muslims, who insults women, who insults African Americans," Mr Sanders said. "I am very pleased that I think in the last national poll that I saw that we were running 18 points ahead of Donald Trump."

Mrs Clinton called the brash businessman "un-American" for his comments about Mexicans in the past. "I'm not going to engage in the kind of language he uses."

Both candidates began the debate with civil recitations of their stump speech. But the moderators were having none of it and immediately asked Mrs. Clinton how she lost to Mr. Sanders in Michigan.

"It was a very close race," the former secretary of state said. "We've won some, we've lost some."

The first barbs traded occurred - fittingly - over the candidates' respective immigration records, with both Mrs Clinton and Mr Sanders trying to call the other out on past comments and votes.

Mrs Clinton said that she would not deport the 11 million or 12 million undocumented immigrants "who are living here and doing their lives." She added that she would only seek to deport criminals who are in the country illegally.

Senator Sanders agreed, but went further, saying that he would work harder to allow children seeking asylum to settle in the U.S.

Reactions to the debate on Twitter varied wildly:

Mrs Clinton did take a moment early in the debate to explain her email scandal, saying that she did not send or receive any emails that were marked classified at the time. She said that many of those emails have been retroactively classified, and that she was operating the same way as her predecessors at the State Department, including Colin Powell.

The next presidential primaries are on March 12, but the next major Democratic contests are on March 15, when hundreds of delegates are up for grabs.

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