Things That Matter

DACA Advocates Shut Down Joe Biden At Last Night’s Democratic Debate, Here’s The Message They Delivered Loud And Clear

Last night, NBC hosted the Democratic Debates, where presidential candidates hashed out their policy differences and tried to win over the American people. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, and Amy Klobuchar were the only candidates to make it to the third debate as the primary narrows down. 

With Univision’s Jorge Ramos as moderator, Latinx issues and voices were represented and centered for once. However, the evening was not without controversy with difficult immigration conversations, crashing protestors, and with candidates like Joe Biden and Julian Castro getting into tense exchanges. 

I don’t know about you, but I was proud to be Latinx last night, though. 

DACA Advocates crash the Democratic Debate.

If you watched the debates last night, you probably remember this moment. It was nearly two and half hours into the Democratic Debate when Joe Biden, who was already having a rough night, was asked a question about professional setbacks, only to be interrupted by a group of protestors. It was a bit strange. Biden tries to speak, but the protestors start chanting. If you were watching it live, at the time it was unclear who, what, or why the protestors were there. 

“We’re going to clear the protesters,” moderator George Stephanopoulos said as the chants began. “We’re sorry.”

The candidates remained on stage in silence and waited patiently. It was an uncomfortable moment, and the candidates chose not to engage. It was only after the fact that the protestors were reportedly DACA advocates. What they were chanting is still unconfirmed.

How did protestors get in? 

However, I do have some professional experience in this arena that begs more questions. This summer I was a part of a small organization called She The People, together we organized the first-ever presidential forum for women of color. We also partnered with NBC, who hosted the debates last night, and the HBCU Texas Southern University, which held the debates last night. 

The candidates who attended were Castro, Harris, Warren, Booker, Gabbard, Sanders, O’Rourke, and Klobuchar (Biden announced his candidacy literally the next day). I am sharing this because I know the level of security that is necessary to host an event like this at TSU, in fact, our forum had protestors too, however they didn’t manage to get in. What went wrong? 

Joe Biden quizzed on immigration by Jorge Ramos

Seasoned Mexican American journalist Jorge Ramos moderated on behalf of Univision. Homeboy did not come to let candidates get off easy on Latinx issues. 

“Are you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake about deportations? Why should Latinos trust you?” Ramos asked Biden. 

The Obama administration deported 3 million immigrants, more than any other administration in history. This is worthy of examination and criticism — but the treatment of those immigrants was nowhere near the utter cruelty compared to the Trump administration. Nevertheless, both policies are bad for Latinxs. 

Biden, who is under fire for seeming incoherent last night, had a long meandering response. 

“We didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families. We didn’t do all of those things, number one,” he said.

 “Number two — number two, by the time— this is a president who came along with the DACA program. No one had ever done that before. This is the president that sent legislation to the desk saying he wants to find a pathway for the 11 million undocumented in the United States of America. This is a president who’s done a great deal. So I’m proud to have served with him.”

Julian Castro Wants Answers From Biden

Biden was repeatedly called out by Julian Castro for taking credit for Obama’s wins and disavowing Obama’s losses. Castro pointed out inconsistencies in Biden’s health plan.

“If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance — from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don’t have — no pre-existing condition can stop you from buying in,” Biden said. 

Castro said the difference between his and Biden’s plan was that you didn’t have to buy or opt-in to his, enrollment would be automatic. Then Biden claimed Americans wouldn’t have to buy or opt-in in after literally just saying they did. 

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that,” Castro said before dropping the mic with, ” I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not.”

What’s notable from Ramos, Castro, and the protestors last night is becoming increasingly clear: Latinxs in America are fed up and we’re speaking to truth to power. 

CNN Is The Big Loser Of Last Night’s Democratic Debate After All Hell Breaks Loose Between Bernie And Warren

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CNN Is The Big Loser Of Last Night’s Democratic Debate After All Hell Breaks Loose Between Bernie And Warren

CNN / YouTube

If you were watching the Democratic Debates live last night you may have noticed one trending hashtag #CNNisTrash. Many Twitter users felt that CNN flubbed the debate asking leading questions to each candidate, particularly progressives like Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren, and barely touching subjects like climate change, gun control, police brutality, and reproductive rights. 

The crassest part of the evening was the CNN moderator stoking the media-incited rivalry between allied progressives Sanders and Warren. The two appeared to have entered frenemy territory this week when it was revealed Sanders’ volunteers were using negative talking points about Warren while canvassing. Then four sources leaked to CNN that Sanders told Warren a woman couldn’t win the presidency in 2018. 

CNN asked both senators about the former incident, which many felt was an attempt to pit progressive candidates against each other and distract from real issues. 

Democratic debate so white.

With Senator Cory Booker dropping out of the race, Andrew Yang and Deval Patrick are the only non-white candidates in the running but they did not qualify for the debate.  While the primary started out with its most diverse set of candidates, only the whitest and wealthiest have been able to garner enough support to stick out the excruciatingly long election season.

Time and time again, experts have pointed out that the primary process too often favors wealthy white males over women and non-white candidates. 

Sanders and Warren refused to take CNN’s bait last night.

Moderator Abby Phillip first asked Sanders about the sexist comment. Sanders denied ever making it. Rather than attacking Warren, he pivoted to the fact that Hillary Clinton won the nomination (over him no less) and that she won the popular vote. 

“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it. And I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anybody who knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be President of the United States,” Sanders said. 

Warren maintained her account of events without attacking Sanders.

“I disagreed,” she said. “Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But, look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head-on.” 

Warren made a salient point about women’s ability to win elections when they choose to run. 

“Look at the men on the stage – collectively they’ve lost 10 elections,” Warren said. “The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women. Amy and me.” 

She also noted that she and Senator Amy Klobuchar are the only candidates to beat republican incumbents in roughly 30 years.

#NeverWarren is the number one trend in the U.S.

Some Sanders supporters appear unable to take the lead from their candidate of choice. A behind the scenes moment where Warren and Sanders have a tense conversation has caused many followers to speculate about what was said. Some Sanders supporters say Warren refused to shake his hand.

Twitter has since been flooded with accusations that Warren lied about Sanders’ 2018 comment (with little evidence) and #NeverWarren is now trending. Sanders’ more reasonable followers have chalked things up to a misunderstanding between two friends.

Could all of this anti-Warren drama be due to Russian influence?

Either way, Warren is on the receiving end of a great deal of vitriol which many believe is a coordinated effort by Russian bots to stoke division since neither progressive can win the nomination without the support of the other. A Warren or Sanders presidency will mean bad news for Russia. 

CNN’s questions made them the big losers of the night.

There is much criticism of how political pundits cover elections like a horse race or a soap opera, looking for soundbites, drama, and conflict rather than covering policy and the real stakes for American people. Twitter users seemed to agree that CNN’s democratic debate was by far the worst yet. 

CNN did not address the conservative court-packing of federal judges who are often rated as not qualified for their lifetime appointments. 

CNN did not talk about the president’s unsettling behavior which many believe to be is Trump’s mental unraveling

Why is everyone so intent on not mentioning the obvious dangers that the current president and his administration pose to the country and the world?

Many question the entire debate process after it’s quite obvious the media doesn’t treat progressive politicians and policies in the same way it does long standing traditional ones.

But perhaps the biggest cause of ire was the constant questions about how Democrats will pay for basic entitlements like universal healthcare, childcare, and college with little interrogation about how the government always manages to allocate billions for endless wars and walls. 

Many felt that rather than using the debate as a tool to inform the American people, the moderators were instead reinforcing conservative talking points. 

The general reception of the debate was that the candidates kept their cool and were cordial to one another, despite CNN’s repeated attempts to court drama. 

The candidates won the debate by dodging leading questions and centering their policies and vision for America. 

Joe Biden Says That Undocumented Immigrants ‘Have To Learn How To Speak English’ To Become Citizens

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Joe Biden Says That Undocumented Immigrants ‘Have To Learn How To Speak English’ To Become Citizens

joebiden / Instagram

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is coming under fire once again after he casually suggested that a requirement for U.S. citizenship should be fluency in the English language. The United States does not have an official language, prompting critics to question Biden as to why English fluency should ever be considered a requirement. Biden had the floor when he was addressing supporters at a campaign stop in Iowa when he touched on his immigration plan. Biden’s primary talking point to address immigration issues is to emphasize a “pathway to citizenship.” President Trump’s 2020 Campaign Deputy Director of Communications, Zach Parkinson, shared a video of Biden’s campaign stop in Iowa, where Biden’s “pathway to citizenship” details the language requirement not listed anywhere else in Biden’s campaign.

While Biden’s formal immigration campaign doesn’t include a language requirement, this isn’t the first time he’s let a remark like that slip. 

During a campaign speech in Iowa, Joe Biden said he would enact the policy change “within a matter of months of being elected President.”

CREDIT: @AZACHPARKINSON / TWITTER

When Biden talks about the “pathway to citizenship” he envisions, he remarks that “like every other person who’s come here, they have to pass, they have to learn how to speak English, they have to demonstrate they pay their taxes…But it’s a pathway.” Passing the citizenship test is a feat in of itself because the verbal portion of the test is administered in English. If Biden is talking about how undocumented immigrants “have to pass” that test, it’s indisputable. If he’s, in fact, saying that undocumented immigrants “have to pass” culturally speaking, he is flat out wrong.

The United States does not have an official language. There are plenty of citizens born or naturalized into America who live in communities that don’t necessitate English fluency to thrive. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just go visit Hialeah or Little Havana in Miami and get yourself lost because even the street signs are in Spanish. 

In November, Biden cited that undocumented immigrants should “learn the language” as a requirement to becoming a U.S. citizen.

CREDIT: @AZACHPARKINSON / TWITTER

“The deal is, that, if you want to be an American citizen, you gotta come out of the shadows,” Biden told a crowd before his formal immigration plan was laid out. He goes on to call his version of a “pathway to citizenship,” “earned citizenship.” He also insidiously chooses to characterize undocumented immigrants by telling his supporters, “By the way, they didn’t come across the Rio Grande. They came on a visa and they overstayed their visa… You get in the process of doing what everyone else has had to do who has come. Learn the language, etc, you go through the same process.”

Biden’s official “roadmap to citizenship” only includes three requirements, none of which is English fluency.

SCREENSHOT. DIGITAL IMAGE. JOEBIDEN.COM. 7 JANUARY 2019.

There are 12 million people living and working in the United States without documentation. On his campaign page, Biden calls them, “our mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. They are our neighbors, co-workers, and members of our congregations and Little League teams. They contribute in countless ways to our communities, workforce, and economy.” Biden’s 2020 online message is clear: he “will aggressively advocate for legislation that creates a clear roadmap to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who register, are up-to-date on their taxes, and have passed a background check.” 

When Biden speaks at campaign events, however, it seems less clear. These aren’t brothers and mothers who work to become the fabric of society. They are immigrants who take advantage of the visa system and overstay their welcome. They are choosing to stay “in the shadows” when they really need to do what “everyone else” has allegedly had to do and “learn how to speak English” and “earn” their citizenship. 

Children of these same immigrants are speaking out against Biden.

CREDIT: @JUANSAAA / TWITTER

My parents have worked over the past 19 years, paid their taxes, and given back to their community. They’re in their late 50’s and are integral to the fabric of Florida. You’re going to deny them citizenship over a language requirement should they come out of the shadows?” asked Twitter DACA advocate Juan Escalante. 

The Biden campaign has responded to Politico journalist Alex Thompson to say that “the verbal portion of the naturalization exam is administered in English (except for in very select cases) and our plan offers English language education support.”

READ: AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party