LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11 / CNS) - Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders used a rally at Santa Monica High School Monday night to criticize his opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for not debating again before the June 7 California primary.
Sanders said it was "insulting to the people of California -- our largest state -- that she is not prepared to have a discussion with me about how we address the major crises we face."
"A number of months ago our campaign and her campaign reached an agreement on a number of debates, including one here in California," Sanders told the crowd, estimated by the campaign to be at 6,750, referring to
commitments each campaign agreed to last winter to add debates to a schedule set by the Democratic National Committee.
Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign's communications director, said Clinton plans "to compete hard in the remaining primary states, particularly California, while turning our attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses."
"We believe that Hillary Clinton's time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic
hands," Palmieri said.
Clinton was also in Los Angeles Monday, conducting fundraisers in Holmby Hills and Hancock Park, 15 days before the June 7 California primary.
Several dozen demonstrators gathered at Wilshire Boulevard and Rossmore Avenue to protest Clinton's visit and and demand that she, the Democratic Party and Obama administration "halt the newly announced plans for deportations and raids that will further terrorize Central American refugees."
Clinton earlier this month said she opposes large-scale deportation raids, saying "we should not be taking kids and families from their homes in the middle of the night." She also said the nation's asylum and refugee
systems need to be overhauled.
"We need a comprehensive plan to stop the root causes of the violence in Central America and expand orderly resettlement programs," she said. "Large-scale raids are not productive and do not reflect who we are as a
Following his return from El Salvador and Honduras on Sunday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson said, "My message in both countries -- our borders are not open to illegal or `irregular' migration.If
you have been apprehended at our border, have a final order of removal, and have no pending claim for asylum or other humanitarian relief under our laws, we must send you home. "We must enforce U.S. immigration laws consistent with our enforcement priorities, and we will continue to do so."
In February, Johnson said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement "is focused more sharply on public safety and border security. Those who are convicted of serious crimes or who are apprehended at the border are top
priorities for removal. And we will enforce the law in accordance with these priorities.
"Accordingly, over the last several years deportations by ICE have gone down, but an increasing percentage of those deported are convicted criminals. And, an increased percentage of those in immigration detention, around 85 percent, are in the top priority for removal. We will continue to focus our resources on the most significant threats to public safety and border security."
Sanders began his day with a rally in the predominantly Latino Eastside community of Lincoln Heights, emphasizing immigration reform, an end to deportations, protecting voting rights and boosting wages. "In this country, if you work 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty," Sanders said.
"That is why I was so proud to work with the workers in the fast food industry who went out on strike from McDonalds and Burger King who stood up and told this nation they cannot make it on the starvation minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. They demanded, and I support a $15 an hour minimum wage -- $15 an hour
and the right to form a union."
Clinton began her visit to Los Angeles with a $2,700 per person early evening fundraiser at the Holmby Hills home of Bryan Lourd and Bruce Bozzi, according to an invitation obtained by City News Service. Individuals raising $10,000 were designated as co-hosts of the event and had their pictures taken with Clinton.
The maximum individual contribution under federal law for a candidate seeking his or her party's presidential nomination is $2,700.
Lourd is the managing partner of the Creative Artists Agency talent agency. Bozzi is a co-owner of The Palm restaurants chain. The event is also hosted by Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Vogue.
An evening fundraiser in Hancock Park followed, with tickets priced at $1,000. Individuals raising $20,000 will have a photo taken with Clinton. "Another day, another posh Hollywood fundraiser for Hillary Clinton,"
said Natalie Strom of the Republican National Committee.
"As her bitter and divisive primary campaign drags on into June against a socialist from Vermont, she turns to her Hollywood friends to finance her scandal-plagued effort to secure the nomination. Unfortunately for Clinton, not
even the pages of Vogue could portray her disaster of a campaign in a good light."
There was no response from the Clinton campaign.
The trip was the 68-year-old Clinton's 12th to the Los Angeles area since she declared her candidacy on April 12, 2015, and second this month. Clinton held 26 fundraisers during her previous visits.
Clinton and Sanders are scheduled to remain in Southern California on Tuesday. The 74-year-old Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who would be the nation's first Jewish president, is set to hold rallies at the
Anaheim Convention Center, Riverside Municipal Auditorium and the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino.
Clinton, who would be the nation's first woman president, is scheduled to join Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, in a discussion on foster care in South Los Angeles, speak at what the campaign has dubbed as a "working families event" at a union headquarters in Commerce and an "organizing event" at UC Riverside.
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