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Tipsheet

Ilhan Omar: The College Debt System Is 'Stacked Up Against You When You're An Immigrant'

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) made an appearance on BET's new series "Young Gifted and Broke" to talk about the Democrats' plan to cancel all outstanding student loan debt. According to Omar, the system is stacked against immigrants and it's time for Wall Street to bail the American people out of debt.

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"My family, we didn't really recover. We went through the private loan system. I didn't really know anything about it. That's my fault. People talk about financial literacy but they also prey on people like me," fellow panelist and author Michael Arceneux said.

"That's an important piece because a lot of people think we made bad choices but it's not about the bad choices we made. It's the system that's stacked up against you, right, when you're an immigrant, when you're the first to go to college in your family, when you're looking at having to pay your rents and all of these other things and the only actions you have is to take out more loans," Omar explained. "When a private college gives you a bigger opportunity at a better life, all of that is the enticement of a system that preys on you."

"Talk about some of the pillars of this legislation and how it would work," host Angela Rye said.

"As someone who's part of that generation, and I wanted to make sure that we were creating a proposal that would alleviate the kind of stress that people are dealing with, so what we're proposing is a simple cancelation of all debt, public and private," Omar explained. "So a simple cancellation of the $1.6 trillion. And the way that we will pay for it, you know, in the next 10 years, is to add a small financial transaction to speculators on Wall Street."

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"We believe that we had the opportunity to bail out Wall Street and now Wall Street gets the opportunity to bail out the American people," Omar said with a smile. The audience applauded. "I think it's really important for a lot of people who are listening, who might think, 'Why would you want to cancel ALL of the student debt?' There might be some people who can pay it off. And I think, for us, we look at it as being the most simple and the equitable thing to do because this debt isn't a rich person problem, right? Trump and Trump’s children are not benefiting from this cancellation. They don't carry student debt. Most of the people who carry student debt are the poor and the middle class."

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