Posted by Guest on October 19, 2016 in Blog

By Mahamad Omar

The third and final presidential debate of 2016 is tonight at 9PM ET and we want you to be involved! When tweeting or posting corrections or complements to the candidates, use #YallaVote. When calling out bigotry, which we’ve, regrettably, heard too much of this campaign season, you can use  #NoBigotry. The official Twitter hashtags for the 2016 Presidential Debates are #debatenight #debates, #debate and #debates2016.

The debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics as selected by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News. Topics include: Debts/Entitlements, Immigration, Economy, SCOTUS, Foreign Hot Spots, and Fitness to be POTUS. The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time for deeper discussion.

Click these links for AAI’s analysis of the first and second debates.

To view the debate, you can watch live onABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, PBS, and MSNBC. Twitter & Bloomberg TV will live stream the debate globally at, in Twitter Moments or on @bpolitics Other networks that will live stream the debate are BuzzFeed News, The Daily Caller, Hulu, Huffington Post, New York Times, Politico, Telemundo, The Wall Street Journal, Univision, Yahoo, and YouTube

Key Twitter Handles:

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Hillary Clinton


Donald Trump


Chris Wallace


Possible topics of Concerns



Hillary Clinton:

"I am absolutely in favor of and have long been an advocate for tough vetting for making sure that we don't let people into this country...We need a better visa system. Let's remember what happened on 9/11. These were not refugees who got into airplanes and attacked our city and our country." (September 19, 2016 - NYC press event)

"Ever since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, America has distinguished itself as a haven for people fleeing religious persecution. Under Donald Trump, America would distinguish itself as the only country in the world to impose a religious test at the border. Come to think of it, there actually may be one place that does that. It’s the so-called Islamic State. The territory ISIS controls. It would be a cruel irony if America followed its lead. (August 25, 2016 – Utah speech)

“I think also, though, there’s a lot of evidence that moving toward comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship would be good for our economy. We already know that undocumented workers are putting about $12 billion into the Social Security trust fund with no anticipation at this point that they’ll ever get anything out. They’re paying payroll taxes; they’re paying other forms of taxes — state and local as well as federal.” (June 22, 2016 - Interview with Ezra Klein for Vox)

"In too many communities, immigrants still face significant language, education, and economic barriers that prevent them from fully adjusting in their new home. Given the cross-cutting nature of immigrant integration policy concerns, Hillary believes it is critical that there be a pro-active effort to coordinate policies and programs across federal agencies and with state and local governments. In 2014, the Obama Administration announced a Task Force to study integration services and make recommendations for improvements.  Hillary would work to implement the Task Force’s recommendations, and create the first ever federal Office of Immigrant Affairs to ensure there is a dedicated place in the White House where integration services for immigrants and refugees are managed." (April 14, 2016 -


Donald Trump:

“We will build a great wall along the southern border. And Mexico will pay for the wall. One hundred percent. They don't know it yet, but they're going to pay for it. And they're great people and great leaders but they're going to pay for the wall. On day one, we will begin working on intangible, physical, tall, power, beautiful southern border wall.” (August 31, 2016 – Arizona speech)

“We're going to triple the number of ICE deportation officers. Within ICE I am going to create a new special deportation task force focused on identifying and quickly removing the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants in America who have evaded justice.” (August 31, 2016 – Arizona speech)

“We need to tell the truth, also, about how Radical Islam is coming to our shores. We are importing Radical Islamic Terrorism into the West through a failed immigration system -- and through an intelligence community held back by our president. Even our own FBI Director has admitted that we cannot effectively check the backgrounds of the people we are letting into America. All of the September 11th hijackers were issued visas. Large numbers of Somali refugees in Minnesota have tried to join ISIS. The Boston Bombers came here through political asylum. The male shooter in San Bernardino – again, whose name I won't mention -- was the child of immigrants from Pakistan, and he brought his wife – the other terrorist - from Saudi Arabia, through another one of our easily exploited visa programs." (June 13, 2016 - Rally in Manchester, NH)

When asked to comment on President Obama's most recent call to welcome Syrian refugees in the United States, Trump said, "I can't even believe that he's saying it. It's inconceivable that he's saying it. It is disgraceful that he could say this. It is just insane what this man is saying." (March 27, 2016 -Fox and Friends)

When asked if he can look Syrian refugee children in the eye and tell them they cannot go to school in the United States, Trump said, "I can look in their faces and say, ‘You can’t come here.’" (February 9, 2016 - New Hampshire townhall)

"I want a database for the refugees if they come into this country. We have no idea who they are. When the Syrian refugees start pouring into this country, we don't know if it's ISIS, we don't know if it's a Trojan horse. And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watch lists. We want to go with databases. And we have no choice. We don't know who's being sent in here... This could be the great Trojan horse of all time." (November 2015, ABC)


Our take:

The United States has a proud tradition of welcoming refugees. Throughout some of the direst humanitarian crises across the globe, the United States has historically opened its doors to the world’s most vulnerable populations. Anti-Immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric has conflated a humanitarian crisis with a national security issue, despite a robust vetting process that is in place for refugees. Read more about the refugee vetting process here. Learn more about the Anti-refugee backlash and resettlement here.


“Foreign Hot Spots”

Hillary Clinton:

"So we’ve got to do everything we can to vacuum up intelligence from Europe, from the Middle East. That means we've got to work more closely with our allies. And that’s something that Donald has been very dismissive of. Working with NATO, the longest military alliance in the history of the world, to really turn our attention to terrorism. We’re working with our friends in the Middle East, many of which, as you know, are Muslim majority nations.” (September 26, 2016 –1st Presidential Debate)

“Only a two-state solution can provide Palestinians independence, sovereignty and dignity, and provide Israelis the secure and recognized borders of a democratic, Jewish state...Now, it’s no secret that the most recent efforts to advance direct negotiations didn’t yield much tangible progress. But I remain convinced, and I think it’s important we all remain convinced, that peace is possible. Inaction is not an option... Israelis deserve security, recognition, and a normal life free from terror. And Palestinians too deserve a normal life and should be able to govern themselves in their own state, in peace and dignity. Now for most Americans, it is hard to imagine the reality that exists for many Palestinians and recently for Israelis. So as difficult as this is, we need to look for opportunities to move forward together." (Sept 15, 2016 - Clinton email to Arab American News)

According to the Clinton campaign, during a meeting with Egyptian President Sisi, the two had “a constructive discussion about bilateral ties and cooperation on a wide range of issues, including counterterrorism. Secretary Clinton emphasized the importance of respect for rule of law and human rights to Egypt’s future progress. Secretary Clinton called for the release of U.S. citizen Aya Hijazi and raised concerns about prosecution of Egyptian human rights organizations and activists.” (September 19, 2016 -campaign statement)

“With respect to Libya, again, there’s no difference between my opponent and myself. He’s on record extensively supporting intervention in Libya, when Gadhafi was threatening to massacre his population. I put together a coalition that included NATO, included the Arab League, and we were able to save lives. We did not lose a single American in that action. And I think taking that action was the right decision. Not taking it, and permitting there to be an ongoing civil war in Libya, would have been as dangerous and threatening as what we are now seeing in Syria.” (September 7, 2016 –NBC Commander-In-Chief Forum)

"Now, the third area that demands attention is preventing radicalization and countering efforts by ISIS and other international terrorist networks to recruit in the United States and Europe. For starters, it is long past time for the Saudis, the Qataris and the Kuwaitis and others to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations. And they should stop supporting radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism." (June 13, 2016 -Rally in Cleveland, OH)

"It is because of my longstanding commitment to the Israeli people and to the security of Israel that I am writing to express my opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement, or 'BDS,' the  global effort to isolate the State of Israel by ending commercial and academic exchanges. I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority, and that we need to work together across party lines and with a diverse array of voices to reverse this trend with information and advocacy, and fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel. It would be a serious mistake for the United States to abandon our responsibilities, or cede the mantle of leadership for global peace and security to anyone else. The Jewish state is a modern day miracle a vibrant bloom in the middle of a desert and we must nurture and protect it. I believe that BDS seeks to punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict. This is not the path to peace. I remain convinced that Israel’s long-term security and future as a Jewish state depends on having two states for two peoples. But that can only be achieved through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians; it cannot be imposed from the outside or by unilateral actions. As Secretary of State, I convened the last round of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders; I know how hard this will be, but it is an effort to which I would be committed as president.Israel is a vibrant democracy in a region dominated by autocracy, and it faces existential threats to its survival. Fighting for Israel isn’t just about policy; it is a personal commitment to the friendship between our peoples and our vision for peace and security. Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism has no place in any civilized society not in America, not in Europe, not anywhere. We must never tire in defending Israel’s legitimacy, expanding security and economic ties,  and taking our alliance to the next level.Please know that I am grateful for your work, and that I stand ready to be your partner as we engage all people of good faith regardless of their political persuasion or their views on policy specifics in explaining why the BDS campaign is counterproductive to the pursuit of peace and harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike." (May 8, 2016 - Letter to the Israel Action Network and the Jewish Federations of North America)


Donald Trump:

"Our military and the strength of our military and the strengthening of our military is a number one priority for the Trump administration. And the world’s going to respect us again and they don’t now. A lot of that has to do with the leader. And a lot of it has to do with leadership. But our country is going to be respected again and we are going to make America great again." (October 3, 2016 - Virginia campaign event)

“I think we have to get NATO to go into the Middle East with us in addition to surrounding nations we have to knock the hell out of ISIS. And we have to do it fast. When ISIS formed in this vacuum created by Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton and believe me you were the ones that took out the troops, not only that, you named the day.” (September 26, 2016 – 1st Presidential Debate)

In a statement released after meeting with Egyptian President al Sisi, Trump was reported to have “thanked President el-Sisi and the Egyptian people for what they have done in defense of their country and for the betterment of the world. Mr. Trump expressed his strong support for Egypt’s war on terrorism, and how under a Trump administration, the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead." (September 19, 2016 - campaign statement)

“I mean, part of the problem that we’ve had is we go in, we defeat somebody, and then we don’t know what we’re doing after that. We lose it, like as an example, you look at Iraq, what happened, how badly that was handled. And then when President Obama took over, likewise, it was a disaster. It was actually somewhat stable. I don’t think could ever be very stable to where we should have never gone into in the first place. But he came in. He said when we go out — and he took everybody out. And really, ISIS was formed. This was a terrible decision. And frankly, we never even got a shot. And if you really look at the aftermath of Iraq, Iran is going to be taking over Iraq. They’ve been doing it. And it’s not a pretty picture…I’ve always said, shouldn’t be there, but if we’re going to get out, take the oil. If we would have taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS, because ISIS formed with the power and the wealth of that oil…And we’re the only ones, we go in, we spend $3 trillion, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then, Matt [Lauer], what happens is, we get nothing. You know, it used to be to the victor belong the spoils. Now, there was no victor there, believe me. There was no victor. But I always said: Take the oil. One of the benefits we would have had if we took the oil is ISIS would not have been able to take oil and use that oil…” (September 7, 2016 – NBC Commander-In-Chief Forum)

After a 13-year old American Jewish girl was murdered in a West Bank settlement, Trump said “The continuing incitement and preaching of hate by the Palestinian leadership, and the glorification of terror, must end immediately…[The Palestinian Authority must] condemn this murder and to take concrete steps to end this barbaric behavior.” (Facebook - July 1, 2016)

When asked if Israel should stop settlement construction specifically in the West Bank, Trump said "No, I don't think it is, because I think Israel should have – they really have to keep going. They have to keep moving forward....No, I don't think there should be a pause. Look: Missiles were launched into Israel, and Israel, I think, never was properly treated by our country. I mean, do you know what that is, how devastating that is?" (May 3, 2016 - Daily Mail interview)

"Basically I support a two-state solution on Israel. But the Palestinian Authority has to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Have to do that. And they have to stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred, you know? The children, I sort of talked about it pretty much in the speech, but the children are aspiring to grow up to be terrorists. They are taught to grow up to be terrorists. And they have to stop. They have to stop the terror. They have to stop the stabbings and all of the things going on. And they have to recognize that Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. And they have to be able to do that. And if they can’t, you’re never going to make a deal. One state, two states, it doesn’t matter: you’re never going to be able to make a deal. Because Israel would have to have that. They have to stop the terror. They have to stop the teaching of children to aspire to grow up as terrorists, which is a real problem. So with that you’d go two states, but in order to go there, before you, you know, prior to getting there, you have to get those basic things done. Now whether or not the Palestinians can live with that? You would think they could. It shouldn’t be hard except that the ingrained hatred is tremendous."(March 26, 2016 - NYT Interview)


Our Take:

It is imperative for the United States to take a leadership role in the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflicts in the Middle East. This will help stop the cyclical consequences of the wars. Reaching stability in “foreign hotspots” requires a commitment in aid and support so that these states can secure unity, territorial integrity, and sovereignty. The U.S. must promote a stable democratic system of governance based on tolerance, transparency, and respect for human rights. And the U.S. must asserts its leadership in achieving to end illegal Israeli occupation, lifting the blockade in Gaza, providing a robust aid package to stimulate the Palestinian economy, and ensuring equal rights for every citizen of Israel regardless of ethnicity and or religion. Read more about our stance on Syria here, Iraq here and Palestine here.


Mahamad Omar is a Fall 2016 Intern at the Arab American Institute.