Joe Biden Wants You To Remember He Was Obama’s Vice President Until You Talk About Their Deportation Record
The Latina hired to facilitate outreach to Latinos, African-Americans, and women for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign has resigned out of frustration, according to two anonymous sources at Politico. Vanessa Cárdenas was Joe Biden’s most senior Latina staffer up until last week when she resigned and changed her Twitter bio to say she was “formerly with @joebiden.” According to Cárdenas’ friends, who anonymously spoke with Politico, Cárdenas grew frustrated that her continued reflection of Latinos’ policy concerns around immigration did not affect or change Biden’s policies at all. In response, Biden told the Associated Press that he will make Latino issues a priority for his 2020 campaign, and called Cárdenas “very, very good.”
Cárdenas reportedly was frustrated over Biden’s “hyperfocus” on white and Black voters in Iowa, erasing the importance of the Latino community.
“The campaign is just hyper-focused on whites in Iowa and African-Americans and it placed less value on Latino outreach,” an immigration activist and friend paraphrased Cárdenas to POLITICO. “Vanessa kept banging her head against the wall trying to get them to take the community more seriously and Biden just really won’t change when it comes to the way he talks about immigration,” the friend told the outlet. “It became too much.” Latinos are projected to make up 18.3 percent of the electorate in 2020, surpassing African Americans as the largest minority group in the United States.
Soon after Cárdenas quit, Biden lost his patience with an immigration activist, Carlos Rojas, and interrupted him to tell him, “You should vote for Trump.” Rojas is just one among many immigration activists who have pressed Biden to talk on Obama’s deportation numbers, which are much higher than Trump’s. Rojas had volunteered for the Obama campaign and was horrified to see how the man he believed in went on to become the “Deporter-in-Chief.” Biden’s response to his story? “No. I will not stop all deportations. I will prioritize deportations, only people who have committed a felony or serious crime,” Biden responded.
“Biden just refused to talk about the issue in a compassionate way,” one of Cárdenas’ friends told POLITICO.
“What happened last week was a perfect example of what Vanessa was dealing with,” a second friend of Cárdenas told POLITICO. “Biden just refuses to talk about the issue in a compassionate way.” It seems as if Biden still doesn’t quite understand Cárdenas’ frustration, even though he told the Associated Press that he could “understand her frustration in terms of the number of days” the campaign spends in certain states. “I’m getting the same thing, and I’m sure every candidate is — no matter what state you’re in — why you’re not spending more time in other states,” he told the outlet. “I wish her well. I’m sorry she was frustrated,” he added.
It should be unsurprising that Biden continues this trend of talking around the bush about Latinos and immigration issues, but we feel frustrated for Cárdenas. Cárdenas allegedly wanted him to acknowledge Latinos in his policies, and he’s even euphemizing the word “Latinos” for “other states.”
Biden has repeatedly avoided political events that might focus on his immigration policies, leading him to skip political forums where Latinos or immigrant rights activists have the strongest voice.
Biden received a lot of flack for skipping a Miami forum of Latino elected officials in June. In the week leading up to Cárdenas’ resignation, Biden received more negative press for avoiding California’s Democratic Party convention where he would be likely to be held to account for his immigration policies. While a campaign official, who asked to remain anonymous, told POLITICO that the campaign simply wants “to speak to the voters at our events that have real engagement,” we’d like to remind Biden that Latinos are real. They’re also real fed up, and demand to be heard.
Biden’s understanding of Cárdenas’ concern about not spending more time in certain states is, at face value, true. To talk about California and Miami voters as “skewed” is to imply that the standard is white, and Latino voices are outliers. While Latinos poll as divided between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, a lot can happen in just a few months. Biden, we’re waiting for you to meaningfully acknowledge Latinos’ concerns over your immigration policy.