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. 

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