She stood up with her orange blazer, blue top, tied-back hair, and brown skin to ask a question of the remaining Democratic presidential candidates. It was an incredible — even historic — moment to see.
At Wednesday night's Univision debate in Miami, Lucia Quiej told her story to Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, but also to the thousands of viewers. She's an immigrant from Guatemala, a mother of five children. Her husband was deported three years ago after he was caught driving without a license. In Spanish, she said she felt great pain in his absence and asked Sanders and Clinton: what will you do to unite families rather than tear them apart?
Univision reporter Enrique Acevedo translated her words from Spanish to English; both candidates said they would do everything they could to reunite families like hers and stop deportations of harmless immigrants. Acevedo translated their answers back, whispering in Quiej's ear.
That's when the Twitter comments started to pour in:
Can't get this image out of my mind. pic.twitter.com/FDw1VD0EHN— Irin Carmon (@irin) March 10, 2016
For history: Lucia Quiej, Guatemalan immigrant, questions Sanders & Clinton in Spanish. (Such a thing has never happened before.) #demdebate— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) March 10, 2016
The question from Lucia was the most important moment in the debate. Cut through it all and put a real story on national TV #DemDebate— Eliel Cruz (@elielcruz) March 10, 2016
This wasn't the only moment during the debate that focused on immigration (Sanders and Clinton compared their past records to prove who was the best candidate for the Latino vote) — but it was certainly the most powerful. It gave a national face to the immigration crisis and painted a picture of a bilingual, complex US population that is finally stepping into the spotlight.
Watch the full clip here: