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

A Section Of Border Wall Is At Risk Of Falling Into Rio Grande Months After Being Called The ‘Lamborghini Of Border Walls’

Things That Matter

A Section Of Border Wall Is At Risk Of Falling Into Rio Grande Months After Being Called The ‘Lamborghini Of Border Walls’

Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images

Trump’s vanity project – that so many of his supporters hail as his greatest accomplishment – has hit another major setback. His planned border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border has consisted of a mix of government-built and privately-built segments, and now one of the highest-profile segments is at literal risk of falling over into a river. How’s that for karma?

The segment in Texas, which its developer called the ‘Lamborghini’ of border walls, was poorly built along a massive flood plain and now erosion has left it in shambles, mere months after construction.

The “Lamborghini” of border walls is in danger of falling into the river if nothing is done.

Trump supporters funded a private border wall on the banks of the Rio Grande, helping the builder secure $1.7 billion in federal contracts. Now the “Lamborghini” of border walls is in danger of falling into the river if nothing is done, experts say.

This ‘Lamborghini’ of border walls is different from those that came before it, in that it could allegedly be built directly on the banks of the Rio Grande – a risky but potentially game-changing step when it came to the nation’s border wall system.

But engineering experts and hydrologists told ProPublica that despite the company’s claims, the wall was built too close to the Rio Grande and is in serious danger of collapse, as photos show “a series of gashes and gullies” along the base of the structure that have severely weakened the structure’s foundation.

According to reports, the foundation for the wall’s steel poles reach only 2.5 feet into the ground, less than one-third as deep as government usually requires. The shallow foundation combined with the rugged riverbank terrain is reportedly a recipe for disaster.

“When the river rises, it will likely attack those areas where the foundation is exposed, further weakening support of the fence and potentially causing portions … to fall into the Rio Grande,” Alex Mayer told ProPublica.

The geography of the Rio Grande has long been a roadblock to wall construction in the region.

Credit: Bend Bend National Park / USFS

A border wall has long existed in one form or another along much of Texas’s southern border. But it’s often existed miles away from the actual border with Mexico, thanks to the region’s diverse and difficult terrain. The Rio Grande Valley’s unique geography includes a wide floodplain that has forced the government to construct barriers inland, on top of a levee system. That has left swaths of farmland, cemeteries and even homes in a kind of no man’s land south of the fence.

Jude Benavides, a hydrologist, told ProPublica, that “People don’t appreciate the power of the Rio Grande when it does indeed wake up. It changes the landscape.”

The contractor has used the segment in Texas to secure billions of dollars worth of contracts to build additional wall in Arizona.

Just this May, the company, Fisher Sand & Gravel (FSG), a won a record-high $1.3 billion government contract to built a portion of Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. They won the approval even though the government’s own Army Corps of Engineers spoke out against FSG’s prototype for lack of “quality” and “sophistication.”

But like so many other Trump projects, the president inserted himself directly into the bidding process – helping FSG gain the contracts. No surprise: FSG’s director, Tommy Fisher, has been a frequent guest on Fox News and has played into Trump’s latest frustrations regarding his wall project, promising he would be able to build it faster and cheaper than any other contractor on the project.

The segment in Texas was built using private donations from some of Trump’s biggest supporters.

Credit: Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images

As Trump faced opposition against his border wall vanity project in Congress, several non-profit groups sprung up in support of his border wall plan. That’s exactly how Fisher’s private fence projects got off the ground.

Both the New Mexico and South Texas projects were built with financial and political help from We Build The Wall, an influential conservative nonprofit – Trump supporter and political strategist Steven Bannon is a board member. In touting its project, the group claimed to have raised more than $25 million and agreements with landowners along 250 miles of riverfront property across Texas.

Here Are Some Of The Women Of Color Being Considered For VP By Biden Campaign

Things That Matter

Here Are Some Of The Women Of Color Being Considered For VP By Biden Campaign

Dustin Chambers / Getty Images

Despite everything happening, the U.S. is still in an election year and former Vice President Joe Biden is on the search for a running mate. So far, most of his list are women of color and political pundits think it is the best move.

Senator Tammy Duckworth

Sen. Duckworth is currently a senator representing Illinois. The Thai-American woman served in the Army following in the steps of her ancestors who have fought in every major conflict since the American Revolution. Sen. Duckworth received a purple heart while on a tour of duty in Iraq as a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army after she lost both legs in an attack. Duckworth then went into politics being elected to the House of Representatives representing Illinois’s 8th Congressional District from 2013 to 2017. In 2017, Duckworth was elected to the Senate.

Representative Val Demings

Rep. Demings currently represents the 10th Congressional District of Florida. She took office in January 2017 and has held the seat since. Before serving in the House of Representatives, Rep. Demings was a police officer in Florida. She even served as Chief of the Orlando Police Department from 2007 to 2011. Some have considered her law enforcement background a positive but Black Lives Matter protesters have attacked her record claiming that Rep. Demings didn’t do enough to fix policing issues in Orlando during her tenure as chief.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mayor Bottoms has risen to national fame since the COVID-19 and George Floyd protests in Atlanta caught the nation’s attention. Mayor Bottoms has been mayor of Atlanta since 2018. Before being the 60th Mayor of Atlanta, Mayor Bottoms was a member of the Atlanta City Council for 8 years. In 2019, Mayor Bottoms spoke out against President Trump’s xenophobic actions and declared Atlanta a welcoming city to refugees and migrants seeking shelter.

Former United States National Security Advisor Susan Rice

Rice served for 3 1/2 years as President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser during his second term. Prior to that duty, Rice was appointed by President Obama to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2008. During her time in the U.N., Rice accomplished a lot, including raising LGBTQ and women’s issues to a global priority and led the Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran and North Korea in response to their nuclear programs.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

Governor Lujan Grisham, who can trace her ancestry in New Mexican back 12 generations, has been a very popular politician from the Land of Enchantment. Gov. Lujan Grisham won her 2012 and 2014 elections to the House of Representatives 59 percent to 41 percent each. In 2016, she won election to Congress 65.1 percent to 34.9 percent. While in Congress, the congresswoman served as the chairwoman for the Congression Hispanic Caucus before resigning to take office as New Mexico’s governor.

READ: During A Livestream Event, It Definitely Sounds (And Looks) Like Joe Biden Let Out A Giant Fart