Things That Matter

Finally, Biden Admits The Pain Caused By Obama’s Immigration Policies And Here’s What He Plans To Do About It

Vice President Joe Biden unveiled his immigration plan, in it, his campaign acknowledges that the Obama administration’s mass deportations caused families pain. As expected Biden’s proposal is a moderate approach. The Vice President plans on rolling back many of the Trump administration’s policies if elected. 

He joins progressives like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and HUD Secretary Julian Castro in ending the use of for-profit detention centers. However, unlike the leftist trio, he does not want to decriminalize illegal border crossings. Biden rolled out his new plan while visiting Nevada on the campaign trail. 

Biden vaguely acknowledges “pain” he might have caused immigrants.

Nicknamed by advocates the “Deporter in Chief” Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history with over 3 million deportations during his time in office. 

“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers,” Biden’s plan reads. 

While Obama’s methods pale in comparison to the cruel tactics like family separation, inhumane conditions, and targeted raids, the impact the deportations have had on families is cannot be quantified.

As Vox notes, this year Biden has attempted to evade numerous questions challenging the Obama administration’s record-high mass deportations. 

In July, advocates made it clear they wanted Biden to answer for the past. A group of protestors with Movimiento Cosecha brought family members of those deported by the Obama administration to Biden’s Philadelphia campaign headquarters. 

“Biden needs to be accountable,” said Joe Enriquez Henry, vice president of the Midwestern region of League of United Latin American Citizens told Politico in July. “Biden needs to make it clear, if he wants to be president, that he has compassion and understanding and he needs to ask for forgiveness.”

Some advocates are cautiously praising Biden for opening the door to talk about past grievances.

In November, when an immigrants’ rights activist asked Biden if he would support a moratorium on deportations, Biden told them to “vote for Trump,” after explaining he would continue deporting migrants who committed serious crimes or felons. Biden’s most senior Latina staff member recently quit in protest of his rhetoric about immigrants. 

“I stand with Barack Obama all eight years, good, bad and indifferent,” Biden said during a September debate when asked about the deportations. 

Biden, like any Vice President, is put in the position of having to defend his president, but also himself as the future president. This isn’t a bad thing, Biden must distinguish himself from his predecessor but if the shadow of Obama’s legacy is buying him goodwill, it might be difficult to undermine that administration’s stances.

“By acknowledging plainly the real pain that American families around the country feel today, Biden’s plan signals an openness to discussing the evolution of the Obama-Biden approach to immigration enforcement over the course of their eight years in office and how the lessons learned from that process would shape a Biden administration in its first 100 days,” the Center for American Progress’s Tom Jawetz told Vox. “That is a conversation that should continue over time.”

Biden wants to multiply the annual cap on refugees. 

“It’s all about families. It’s all about families to me,” Biden said at a Las Vegas union hall, speaking to a room of many immigrants and casino workers. 

The Vice President will increase the annual refugee limit from 18,000 to 125,000 in a clear rebuke to the Trump administration. Like the other candidates, Biden will end family separation and the travel limits or “Muslim ban” on citizens from countries affected by the policy. He wants immediate action taken to protect DACA recipients from deportations. 

Biden will also allocate $4 billion to stabilize Central American economies and governments to ease the conditions that create mass migration in the first place. 

“We should be engaging and offering our help to organize this hemisphere right now,” Biden said. “I’m going to spend, literally, a billion dollars a year to build up those countries so there’s no reason to leave in the beginning.”

Biden has pledged to end for-profit detention centers, wants to make work visas more practical for seasonal workers, and he wants to end the public charge rule that requires migrants to show proof they can afford health care. 

“While Trump is responsible for the current immigration crisis, we can’t ignore that Democrats have a choice to embrace the Obama legacy or choose to address the immigration issue in a humane way,” said Carlos Rojas, an organizer who protested Biden said in July

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The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

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The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

@BillCorben / Twitter

Readers of the Miami Herald and the El Nuevo Herald noticed a racist and anti-Semitic insert in one of the latest editions. The column in the insert compared BLM activists to Nazis while talking down about the Jewish community.

The Miami Herald recently published a racist and anti-Semitic insert.

The offensive piece, written by Cuban exile Roberto Luque Escalona, received harsh and immediate backlash. Escalona expresses his displeasure for the Jewish community and those seeking racial justice by joining BLM with one column.

“What kind of people are these Jews” writes Escalona. He then continues to “teach” Jewish people the history of the Holocaust and claims that BLM supporters are worse than the Nazis during Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, because the Nazis simply destroyed things and didn’t steal.

The newspaper has apologized for the insert going so far as to admit that it was not properly vetted and that “internal failures” were at play.

According to an open letter, higher ups at the Miami Herald admit to the insert not being read and vetted by the staff. The obvious overlook led to a 40-page insert of right-wing propaganda to be distributed to the readers of both the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. Since the publication, the Miami Herald claims to have ended their relationship with Libre, the insert with the racist and anti-Semitic content.

Those responsible at the Miami Herald admitted to not reading the insert before it was distributed.

“We are deeply sorry that inflammatory, racist and anti-Semitic commentary reached our el Nuevo Herald subscribers through LIBRE, a Spanish-language publication that paid our company to have the product printed and inserted into our print edition as a weekly supplement,” reads part of an open letter to readers. “The fact that no one in leadership, beginning with us, had previously read this advertising insert until this issue was surfaced by a reader is distressing. It is one of a series of internal failures that we are investigating in order to prevent this from ever recurring.”

Readers are outraged that the newspaper would allow such offensive things to be published and distributed.

The right-wing conspiracies pushed by Libre are part of a larger Spanish-language disinformation campaign targeting Cubans in southern Florida. The community has been inundated with disinformation ahead of the 2020 election preying on the fears and ignorance within the staunchly conservative Cuban community.

“It’s difficult to measure the effect exactly, but the polling sort of shows it and in focus groups it shows up, with people deeply questioning the Democrats, and referring to the ‘deep state’ in particular — that there’s a real conspiracy against the president from the inside,” Eduardo Gamarra, a pollster and director of the Latino Public Opinion Forum at Florida International University, told Politico. “There’s a strain in our political culture that’s accustomed to conspiracy theories, a culture that’s accustomed to coup d’etats.”

The disinformation is targeting Cubans because of the growing Latino communities who tend to vote Democratic.

According to Politico, the campaign is Cuban specific. The Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Dominican communities in Florida, which continue to grow, typically vote Democratic. These shifting demographics have left Republicans doing anything it takes to keep a strong hold of the Cuban community, even by means of racism, anti-Semitism, and disinformation.

READ: Politicians Need To Stop Assuming That The Latino Vote Is A Monolith Because It Is Not The Truth

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Kamala Harris Pledges That, If Elected, She and Joe Biden Would Decriminalize Marijuana Use

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Kamala Harris Pledges That, If Elected, She and Joe Biden Would Decriminalize Marijuana Use

On Monday, Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris vowed that a Biden-Harris administration would “decriminalize” the use of marijuana.

“Under a Biden-Harris administration, we will decriminalize the use of marijuana and automatically expunge all marijuana-use convictions, and end incarceration for drug use alone,” Harris said during a Facebook Live virtual round-table.

“We need to deal with the system, and there needs to be significant change in the design of the system,” she continued.

The decriminalization of marijuana would be a boon for cannabis-rights activists who have long said that marijuana’s potential health risks “pale in comparison” to the harm that criminalization has done to communities of color in America.

We’ve known for a while that the U.S.’s drug policies disproportionately affect people of color. While the stats suggest that Americans across all demographics use marijuana at roughly the same rate, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be arrested and charged for possession.

For example, in New York City in 2017, the NYPD arrested 17,000 people for marijuana-related offenses. 86% of those were Black or Latino.

via Getty Images

Historically, politicians on both the left and the right haven’t done much to fix this disparity. Although both Republicans and Democrats were responsible for the largely ineffective “War On Drugs” policies of the ’90s that left a large number of people of color incarcerated, the Dems have recently changed their tune.

In the ’90s, there was an erroneous belief that marijuana was a “gateway” drug to harder, more destructive drugs, like crack-cocaine. Cracking down on marijuana possession was seen as a preventative tactic to keep people from trying crack.

The decriminalization of marijuana would be a marked change for Biden in particular who has held quite stringent anti-marijuana positions throughout his career.

“The school of thought was that we had to do everything we could to dissuade the use of crack cocaine,” Biden said in 2008 Senate hearing. “And so I am part of the problem that I have been trying to solve since then.”

This falls in line with what Senator Harris’s policy stances have been of late. She recently spear-headed a bill called the MORE Act that, if passed according to Politico, would “remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and erase some cannabis criminal records”.

It’s worth noting that there is a marked distinction between the decriminalization of marijuana vs its legalization.

via Getty Images

According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, decriminalization means “no arrest, prison time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption”. In essence, a marijuana-related offense would be treated similarly to a traffic violation.

Legalization, on the other hand, would mean a federal policy that “supports a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers can buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source.”

Whether it’s decriminalization or legalization, one thing’s for sure: the data shows that hyper-punitive laws towards cannabis possession has done the American people more harm than good. Especially in communities of color.

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