Voters are beginning to put the heat on Vice President Joe Biden for immigration policies that former President Obama implemented during their time in office.
Obama was infamously dubbed the “deporter in chief” for mass deportations which occurred under his administration, resulting in the deportation of more that 3 million people.
Politico reports some pro-immigration advocates are arguing Biden needs to answer for the policies:
“Biden needs to be accountable,” said Joe Enriquez Henry, vice president of the Midwestern region of League of United Latin American Citizens, which is meeting for its annual convention here this week. “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.”
Enriquez Henry, who is mobilizing Latinos to influence the Iowa caucuses, called the “major deportations” under Obama’s presidency a “terrible time” for Latinos and that Biden “needs to do his penance.”
Biden has so-far supported the former president and, during the first Democratic debate, remarked: “President Obama, I think, did a heck of a job.”
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LULAC President Domingo Garcia took issue with that critique. “The Obama and Biden administration were terrible in their first term,” he said. “His title of deporter in chief was earned.”
Garcia gave the Obama administration credit for implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2014. But he said Biden “needs to explain” why they didn’t pass immigration reform within their first 100 days in office. (During the 2008 campaign, Obama promised to push for an immigration reform bill in his first year, but did not do so.)
Julián Castro, Biden’s 2020 rival who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration, told reporters on the sidelines of LULAC’s convention Thursday that the Obama administration went too far on immigration.
“I have learned the lessons of the past. It seems like Vice President Biden hasn’t,” Castro said.
According to the report, some immigration proponents came to Biden’s defense and said his address to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this week helped alleviate worries that Biden would continue Obama’s immigraiton legacy.
“If the public at large, and specifically the Hispanic community, got to hear what we did yesterday,” Democrat Congressman Filemon Vela said following the meeting. “I think they would be very confident that we would be well represented with a Biden presidency.”
But, Biden may have more work to do to convince voters at-large, Politico reports:
Still, Biden got a taste of the difficulty he’s in for this week when dozens of activists with the group Movimiento Cosecha protested in the lobby of his recently opened campaign headquarters in Philadelphia. The group brought several family members of people who had been deported during the Obama administration.
Six protesters sat down in front of the turnstiles to the elevators to block anyone from entering. After a warning, they were arrested. Outside on the sidewalk, two activists held a large banner with the Biden presidential logo that read, “We haven’t forgotten 3 million deportations.”