Things That Matter

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.

CREDIT: VANESSA CARDENAS / LINKEDIN

“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.

Credit: @CHRIS_1791 / TWITTER

“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.

CREDIT: @CDNNOW / TWITTER

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.

READ: Joe Biden’s Campaign Announced Their Latino Outreach Before They Secured The URL And Twitter Account

US Marine Arrested For Smuggling Undocumented Immigrants

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US Marine Arrested For Smuggling Undocumented Immigrants

Unsplash

The U.S. military is going through a serious rough patch. Not only are they have issues recruiting new service members, but they’re also having problems retaining mental health workers, which is a really big deal because they help the people already inlisted. Now we’re seeing the ramifications of that.  Just this week a U.S. Navy sailor shot and killed two people at Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor military installation. The Navy sailor went on to kill himself. It all happened in the same week as the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which the celebration is supposed to take place this Saturday. The issues the military is facing is not combatting depression and other mental health problems within their units, but some ethical ones that go completely against what the country stands for. 

On December 2, U.S. marine was charged for smuggling undocumented people across the border near San Diego, California.

Credit: Unsplash

“On December 2, 2019, at approximately 1:30 a.m., a junior-enlisted Marine with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel for allegedly bringing in undocumented immigrants at the San Ysidro port of entry,” the Marine Corps said in a statement, according to ABC News. “The Marine is currently being held in civilian custody. The determination as to the adjudicating authority has not yet been made.”

The 20-year-old Marine has not been publically named, but the news station adds that they were not part of the “Trump administration’s southwest border support mission.”

Credit: Unsplash

Additional reports say the Marine was pulled over in a 2007 Ford Mustang for “additional screening.” That is when border officials found two Chinese women in his trunk. 

“The Marine is currently being held in civilian custody,” Marine spokesman Lt. Cameron Edinburgh said in a statement to Fox News. “The determination as to the adjudicating authority has not yet been made.”

This latest charge comes on the heels of a slew of other military officials who have also arrested on similar smuggling charges.

Credit: Unsplash

Just this summer, 19 Marines were arrested for various offenses. ABC News reports that the Marines were allegedly involved “in activities ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses.” All of the Marines involved in this case were stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego. The number of marines involved in this case gradually increased from 16 to 19.

“1st Marine Division is committed to justice and the rule of law, and we will continue to fully cooperate with NCIS on this matter,” the statement said, according to the network. “Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process.”

According to Stripes.com, the Marines were all arrested in front of their peers during their morning formation and that was done purposely to make an example out of them. 

“It was a public display for the entire unit to see,” 1st Marine Division Spokesman 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh told the online news site. 

As for the reason to not disclose the names of the Marines arrested, Marine Maj. Kendra Motz said that is because “Out of respect for the privacy of the implicated Marines,” and added, “we will not release names or other identifying information until charges are announced.” Six out of those marines arrested have already pleaded guilty to human trafficking and drug charges. 

In related news, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that detainments at the border continue to decrease.

Credit: Unsplash

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan said last month that in October, the trend of a decline of detainments at the border continues to show a decline. 

“The numbers show this administration has and continues to take bold action to address this crisis,” Morgan said, according to The Texan news. 

In May, however, it was a whole different story.  Back then, border officials said they saw 144,000 detainments in one month alone. From then until October, there has been a 70 percent. 

It’s certainly an odd predicament that the government and the military are facing because on the one hand detainments at the border are going down, which speaks positively of their security tactics. Yet, on the other hand, their own military workforce looks to be in quite the dilemma going against their own principals. 

READ: CBP Arrests A 16-Year-Old After Catching Them Using A Remote Control Car To Smuggling Drugs Across The Border

Joe Biden Unveils Plan For Puerto Rico Which He Says Deserves More Respect Than Trump Has Given

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Joe Biden Unveils Plan For Puerto Rico Which He Says Deserves More Respect Than Trump Has Given

No Malarkey Tour

Vice President Joe Biden didn’t hold back when lambasting the Trump administration’s mishandling of Puerto Rico in an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel. Biden called for an overhaul of the federal government’s treatment of the territory, insisting that Puerto Ricans are American citizens and should be treated as such. 

The former vice president suggested Trump unleashed “the evils of bigotry and callous inhumanity,” with his response to Hurricane Maria. He also called for increasing the minimum wage to $15, creating a federally sourced technical infrastructure for the island in much need of rebuilding, and tripling funding for Title I schools

Placing the opinion piece in a local Florida paper may demonstrate Biden’s campaign efforts to reach Latinx voters, considering the high population of Latinxs with Carribean ancestry in the state.  Following the release of his plan, 25 Puerto Rican leaders endorsed his candidacy. 

Governor Alejandro García Padilla and 24 other Puerto Rican elected officials in Florida including state Rep. Amy Mercado, D-Orlando, and state Sen. Vic Torres, D-Kissimmee endorsed Biden today, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Biden wants to provide structure to a Hurricane Maria-wrecked Puerto Rico.

Among calling out his callousness, Biden said Trump “abandoned his responsibility” to provide aid and recovery support to the island after Hurricane Maria. 

“His behavior after Maria — lying about relief efforts, blocking aid, mocking survivors, robbing the island of the assistance it’s legally entitled to — is a stain on our nation. His actions insult the memory of the estimated nearly 3,000 souls who died during and after the storm, as well as the over one million who have struggled without power in the wreckage,” Biden wrote in the Orlando paper. 

The VP called for a federal effort to rebuild the island along with the trust of the U.S. citizens who live there. Biden praises the fortitude and mobilizations of Puerto Ricans who have continued to speak truth to power and sought to repair an island wounded by governmental neglect and natural disasters. 

If elected, Biden will create a federal working group to provide resources and technical support to the island. 

“To ensure that supporting Puerto Rico is an Administration-wide priority, the working group will consist of advisers designated by each federal agency and led by a point person who will report directly to me,” he wrote. 

Biden wants mainland companies to invest in Puerto Rico. 

A special section of the VP’s $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan along with efforts to get mainland companies to invest in Puerto Rico will fund roads, bridges, powerlines, and broadband access to the island, while providing tens of thousands of new jobs, according to Biden. A part of this plan is also investing in entrepreneurs who already live on the island. 

“I will expand programs that support island entrepreneurs and small businesses, like the State Small Business Credit Initiative, which has drawn tens of millions of dollars in new investment on the island, and programs that will further ignite economic growth like the New Markets Tax Credit program,” Biden wrote. 

Biden’s plan, like many candidates, is moderate and uses the language of fostering change without really using the necessary language of reckoning with the past. 

Does Biden support statehood in Puerto Rico? It’s unclear.

As Latino Rebels noted in his plan, there is “no specific mention of Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, the island-colony’s Fiscal Control Board or current reframing or revisiting of PROMESA, including a cancellation of debt. It also makes no mention of the Jones Act or its possible repeal. The words ‘colony’ or ‘colonialism’ aren’t in the opinion piece either. Neither are words like ‘statehood’ or ’51st state.’”

PR51st does, however, note that in 2012 Biden seemed to support statehood and encouraged Puerto Ricans to fight for statehood. 

“I have always found Puerto Rico’s current political status as something very bizarre. My word of advice to you, and all Puerto Ricans, is that you continue to fight hard until you reach your goal of equality, and we shall act,” Biden said in 2012.

PR51st says Biden “probably does” support statehood. In the Washington Post’s assessment of candidates’ stances, Biden is the only candidate labeled “unclear/no response.” The three other major frontrunners Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg are in the “let them decide” column. 

Biden ends his op-ed with a call to defeat Trump as the only path forward for any chance to save Puerto Rico in the near future at all. 

“So we must defeat Donald Trump. It’s the foundation on which every other policy, and every hope of progress across our nation, depends. It’s the single most important political act that we, together as Americans, can take — to rebuild Puerto Rico, and to rescue the character of our nation,” he wrote.