Sanders Shoots Hoops, Harris, Biden Hold Fundraisers Ahead of UnidosUS Conference in San Diego

UnidosUS is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization.

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Some of the top Democratic presidential candidates arrived in San Diego ahead of a conference Monday where they hope to garner the support of Latino voters.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), will be speaking at the 2019 UnidosUS Annual Conference at the San Diego Convention Center.

UnidosUS, formerly known as NCLR, is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization.

Both Harris and Biden arrived in San Diego a day ahead of the conference to host dueling fundraisers on opposite sides of the city and Sanders was spotted in downtown San Diego on Sunday. 

Sen. Harris' fundraiser was attended by several local politicians, including mayoral candidate Assemblymember Todd Gloria and California Senate President Pro-Tem Toni Atkins, both whom have endorsed Harris run for president. 

NBC 7's Danny Freeman spoke to the senator outside of the Banker's Hill fundraiser in the wake of two deadly mass shootings over the weekend that left 29 people dead and scores more injured. 

She said there are plenty of issues that lead to mass shootings but what is needed is for Congress to act on them. 

"Front and center we are talking about hate. We are talking about white nationalism. We are talking about gun violence that is out of control in America and the failure of Congress to have the courage to act on it," she said. 

Harris said if elected president she would ask Congress to put a gun reform bill on her desk within the first 100 days of her term. Otherwise, she would carry out executive orders addressing background checks, gun dealers who violate the law and imported assault weapons. 

Biden also addressed gun reform at his fundraiser across the city, at the Del Cerro home of local business man Mark Arabo. 

The former vice president called for a ban on assault weapons and limiting the number of rounds in gun magazines. He also said to the group that extreme ideologies of white nationalism, and white supremacy are growing in America.

Meanwhile, Sen. Sanders commented on the tragic shootings on MSNBC, stating that other countries are wondering what is wrong with America.

"I know that the overwhelming majority of the American people, whether their gun owners or not gun owners, understand that we need to move the common sense gun safety legislation," Sanders said on MSNBC.

In San Diego, the senator was spotted at the downtown arcade Coin-Op Game Room. Video shared with NBC 7 showed Sanders shooting hoops surrounded by crowds of onlookers. 

During the Monday afternoon event, each candidate will deliver remarks then participate in a question and answer period with attendees.

“Latinos are going to play an increasingly important role in deciding races across the country, including our next president, and are anxious to be engaged by candidates who can provide concrete ideas and proposed solutions for the issues that matter to them most,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía in a press statement.

Only Democratic candidates were invited to the conference.

The 4-day UnidosUS Conference is a gathering for Latino leaders, non-profit organizations, activists, and students from across the U.S. The conference ends on Tuesday.

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