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. 

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

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

@JoeBiden / Twitter

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

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Calls Out Media For Painting AOC As Representative Of Democratic Party

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Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Calls Out Media For Painting AOC As Representative Of Democratic Party

ocasio2018 / joebiden / Instagram

Former Vice President and Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden answered a question about Medicare for All by pivoting blame on the media, saying AOC is “a bright, wonderful person,” but not representative of the Democratic party as a whole. “You guys got it all wrong about what happened,” Biden told journalist Mike Allen on Axios on HBO. “You sound like Trump. Fake News,” Allen pointedly responded. Initially, Biden agreed, but then went on to reframe what Trump calls “Fake News” as simply “bad judgment.” Biden claims that the media’s assertion that “AOC was the new party” were “all wrong,” and that the Democratic party and its voters are not ready to relinquish private health insurance and adopt Medicare for all. 

“Come on, man,” Joe Biden implored the journalist to see his perspective.

CREDIT: AXIOS on HBO / YouTube

In a teaser trailer for Axios on HBO’s interview with presidential candidate Joe Biden, his view on the media took center stage. In fact, journalist Mike Allen prompted Biden’s response by asking if Medicare for all is “political suicide.” Before Allen could finish his sentence, Biden interrupts to chuckle, “The party’s not there at all.” Allen asserts that “Some of your opponents are,” but Biden doesn’t bite. He continues to state, “Yeah, but the party’s not there. You know the numbers. You guys got it all wrong about what happened.”

“You sound like Trump. Fake news.” Allen posits. “I do. No, look, it’s not fake, it’s just bad judgment,” Biden responds in an attempt to differentiate the semantics around a presidential candidate attempting to discredit negative media criticism. “You all thought that what happened was the party moved extremely to the left after Hillary,” Biden added, referencing media stories that “AOC was the new party.” He goes on to add that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is “a bright, wonderful person, but where’s the party? Come on, man.”

However, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll shows that “a slight majority of Americans say they favor [“Medicare-for-all”].”

CREDIT: KFF HEALTH TRACKING POLL (NOVEMBER 7-12, 2019)

The poll results, published just last month, states that “overall, a majority of Democrats and about half of independents favor a national Medicare-for-all plan while most Republicans oppose.” The only dissent boils down to misinformation about the existing proposals on the table. KFF polling found that Americans “know little about how the leading Medicare-for-all proposals would reshape the way all Americans get and pay for health care, and public support for Medicare-for-all shifts significantly when people hear arguments about potential tax increases or delays in medical tests and treatment.” 

The “what” is settled. The majority of Americans want Medicare-for-all. The “how” is still up for debate, and what Americans hope to see settled on the debate stage. The KFF polling found that Americans are more likely to support “incremental changes to expand the public health insurance program” rather than completely replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and private health insurance altogether with an entirely new proposal. The polling makes it clear that Democrats are far beyond the question of whether or not to expand public health care. They want to understand how their candidates-of-choice will expand public health care.

Biden’s top opponents, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have campaigned on Medicare-for-All.

CREDIT: AXIOS on HBO / YouTube

In fact, the same KFF poll found that Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign was what tilted Americans toward a majority favorability of government healthcare. “This is America. You should not go bankrupt because you’re diagnosed with a serious illness,” 2020 Democratic hopeful, Sanders, tweeted this week. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has endorsed Bernie Sanders for President, both of whom identify as Democratic Socialists. Both AOC and Sanders have a shared vision of free public college, guaranteed family leave, and free healthcare for all, often citing the successful examples of other European countries that offer those same solutions for basic human needs.

Thus far, the YouTube comments on the Axios on HBO trailer are telling. The top three comments, in order, are “Jose is the part of the party we’d like to leave behind tbh,” “Senile Grumpy Old Joe !!!!!!” and “‘you should vote for Trump’ – Joe Biden 2019.”

Most recently, AOC criticized Biden for asking Cory Booker to issue an apology for criticizing Biden’s insensitivities to Black history in the United States.

CREDIT: @ALXTHOMP / TWITTER

In June, Biden shared an anecdote that was meant to attest to his political diplomacy, about how he worked with segregationist Senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge. Democratic hopeful Senator Cory Booker demanded an apology to the American people for paternalistic story during which Biden referred to Black men as “boys.” Booker’s demand for an apology has been outstanding since June 2019. “You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys,'” Booker said. 

In response, Biden said he didn’t have a “racist bone” in his body, saying the American people and elected officials should “know better,” adding, “I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Apologize for what? Cory should apologize. He knows better.” AOC took to Twitter to shoot back, “For the record, Cory Booker does *not* owe Joe Biden an apology for pointing out that waxing nostalgic about working with segregationists is insensitive. ‘He knows better?’ Really? What is ‘better?’ To stay quiet about it?”

READ: Joe Biden Released A New Platform Regarding Puerto Rico And Hopes To See The Island Get The Respect It Deserves