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VERIFY: Fact-checking night 2 of the second Democratic debate

Our VERIFY team fact-checked what the candidates said during the first night of Democratic debates in Detroit.

Ten more Democrats seeking the party’s nomination faced off in Detroit Wednesday night to wrap up the second round of debates in the 2020 campaign. 

The night featured a rematch of Biden vs. Harris and was even interrupted a number of times by protesters. 

Our VERIFY researchers fact-checked what all the candidates had to say during Wednesday's debate. 

CLAIM: Senator Kamala Harris said that one in four diabetes patients in our country cannot afford their insulin. 

The senator’s numbers are backed up by a 2018 study by the American Diabetes Association. It found that “roughly a quarter (27%) of respondents indicate insulin cost has affected their past year purchase or use of insulin.” 

According to Politifact, Harris’ campaign points to a peer-reviewed study published in December, which found that one in four patients at an diabetes center in New Haven, Conn., reported “cost-related insulin underuse.” 

While both examples only surveyed a few hundred people, it’s believed the numbers reflect the national situation. 

Sources: American Diabetes Association, Peer-reviewed medical journal 

 - Rhea Titus 

CLAIM: Andrew Yang claimed that Amazon is closing 30 percent of stores and malls across the U.S.This claim is misleading.

The number of retail stores in the United States is growing, according to Labor Department data.

While there were about 75,000 stores that closed in 2017, the total number of stores has since risen.

It shows a steady increase in retail establishments since 2011. The most recent numbers show about 1,043,904 retail establishments in 2018 compared to 1,026,437 in 2011. 

There is no evidence to support the claim that it’s Amazon or other online retailers that are responsible for store locations shutting down across the country.

Sources: Labor Department data 

- Jason Puckett 

CLAIM: Gov. Inslee said he was the first to create a public health care option in the U.S. 

This claim is VERIFIED, true.

Earlier this year Inslee became the first in the U.S. to sign into law legislation that would make Washington the first state to enter the private health insurance market with a universally available public option.

RELATED: VERIFY: Fact-checking night 1 of the second Democratic debate

Washington’s plan is more of a hybrid model though, where the state dictates the terms of the public option plans but hire private insurance companies to administer them.

CLAIM: Senator Michael Bennet said that 88% of prisoners in the U.S. prison system failed out of high school.

This claim is false. While the numbers available do show a high number of prisoners that have not completed high school, Bennet’s numbers were too high.

According to a Bureau of Justice report from 2003, “68% of State prison inmates did not receive a high school diploma.”

RELATED: VERIFY: Fact-checking night 2 of the first Democratic debate

RELATED: VERIFY: Fact-checking the first Democratic debate

That same national report found that about 41% of inmates in the nation's state and federal prisons and local jails had dropped out. 

The numbers for this claim haven’t been updated since this 2003 report even though they are still used in much more recent government write ups.

Source: Bureau of Labor Report

Credit: AP
From left, former Vice President Joe Biden Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Andrew Yang, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee participate in the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

CLAIM: President Donald Trump tweeted during the CNN debate that the "cages for kids were built by the Obama Administration in 2014. He had the policy of child separation. I ended it even as I realized that more families would then come to the Border!" 

President Donald Trump kept quiet on Twitter during CNN's first Democratic debate, but he jumped right in during the second. 

The first part of Trump's claim is VERIFIED as true. During the Obama administration, unaccompanied minors detained at the border were held in border facilities with cage-like structures for up to three days. 

In 2014, reporters received permission to visit a CBP detention center in Nogalse, Arizona, and captured photos of children sleeping on the floor inside fencing.

Many notable photos were captured by photojournalist Ross D. Franklin for the Associated Press.

RELATED: VERIFY: Were immigrant children 'caged' under the Obama Administration?

The second part of Trump's claim about child separation is misleading.

Experts say there were some child separations under previous administrations, but there was no blanket policy until Trump to prosecute parents and, as a result, separate them from their kids.

Sources: Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors by County FY14 

US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Report 2016

ACF Fact Sheet.

Associated Press photo (1), (2), (3), (4)

CBS Evening News 2014

CLAIM: Senator Michael Bennet claimed that schools are as segregated today as they were 50 years ago.

This claim is true and references data provided by the UCLA Civil Rights Project over the past several years. 

A 2014 study found that the percentage of black students in majority white schools in 2011 had just fallen below the rate it was at in 1968. The group's 2019 report, published to mark the 65th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, noted that segregation “is on the rise” meaning that it’s unlikely that number has gotten any better.

Sources: UCLA Civil Rights Project Segregated Schools 2014 report, UCLA Civil Rights Project Segregated Schools 2019 summary

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