Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders met at Miami-Dade College for a debate that was sponsored by The Washington Post and Univision – the Spanish-language network based in Miami – on March 9. Among the issues they touched upon was the immigration crisis. Co-host Jorge Ramos, who is an American citizen born in Mexico, called on a young woman identified as María Martínez to address a question to the two aspirants to the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
Enrique Acevedo, a Mexican reporter for CNN, was working the floor during the debate at the college to offer members of the audience opportunities to ask questions of the candidates. Addressing Clinton in Spanish, even though she does not speak Spanish, Acevedo said that millions of American students who are unable to pay for their student loans In English and Spanish. Acevedo repeated this in English and identified María Martínez as a student at Miami Dade College. Acevedo said that millions of students are unable to pay off their student loans.
Speaking in Spanish, Martínez said she is studying political science and has aspirations of completing a doctorate. “To do so, I need to get a student loan,” she said. She asked “What will you do to pay off the debt of this generation?”
Acevedo translated Martinez’s question loosely, telling Clinton that Martínez wants to attend grad school and achieve a PhD. “What are you going to do to help her achieve that goal and help her pay off her student debt?” he asked.
In response, Clinton congratulated Martínez for pursuing an education. Clinton said that as president, she would “refinance everyone’s existing student debt” while noting “40 million Americans” have student debt. The audience erupted into applause as Clinton continued.
Clinton said that under her education loan plan, Americans would be able to refinance their student debt and then pay it back as a percentage of income. Those with student debt would ultimately move to a program to “pay it back as a percentage of your income.”
Clinton said that once she is in office, students would not have to pay anything for higher education at public institutions. “The government has to quit making money off of lending money to young people to get their education.”
As for Sen. Sanders, he said Clinton was “absolutely right” but claimed he had offered the plan much earlier.