(Los Angeles, CA) October 10, 2016 — Moderators and candidates at the first two presidential debates failed to address immigration, which has been a central issue in this campaign season and a defining topic for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Six-year-old Sophie Cruz, pictured at center below with her parents and younger sister, looks forward to an answer at the third debate. She is among 16.6 million Americans who live in families with at least one undocumented immigrant. Sophie’s parents are both undocumented.
Last week, 6-year-old Sophie submitted her question to the presidential candidates online through the Open Debate Coalition. She asked Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, “If you deport my parents, what happens to me?”
At the final tally just before the debate began, Sophie’s question had received 37,177 votes and was listed as #9 overall out of 15,800 submitted questions and 3.6 million people who voted on them. In the civil rights category, Sophie’s question ranked #1. Yet the moderators chose not to ask her question during the debate.
Sophie’s mom, Zoyla, told us that the brave second-grader said after the debate, “Thank you to the American people who voted for my question. I want to know what will happen to my parents. I’m scared for my mommy and daddy. There are many other kids like me who want to know the answer to my question, too.”
Most recently, Define American worked with Sophie and her family to feature them in Los Angeles magazine’s groundbreaking issue on immigration, for which Define American’s founder Jose Antonio Vargas served as a guest editor.
After the debate, Define American said, “We’re disappointed that Sophie Cruz’s timely and crucial question was ignored during Sunday night’s presidential debate. It’s hard to believe that not a single question about immigration has been asked at either debate. Many in the media were happy to have this debate be about name-calling and mudslinging, but for families like Sophie’s, the answers to immigration questions aren’t merely words to attract television ratings, but will impact their ability to survive and continue living together as a family.”
Please join Define American in encouraging the third presidential debate moderator for Fox News, Chris Wallace, to ask Sophie’s question about immigration. Tweet at https://twitter.com/FoxNewsSunday to encourage Sophie’s question to be asked on Wednesday, October 19th during the third and final presidential debate.
About Define American
Define American is a media and culture organization using the power of stories to transcend politics and shift the conversation around immigration and citizenship in a changing America. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization was founded in 2011 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas. For more information, visit defineamerican.com.