Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden may have committed another political gaffe on Friday when he told a group of immigration activists that “we need family separation,” or the immigration enforcement policy of separating children from migrant adults who are charged with breaking the law.
Biden, whose campaign is already facing heat and having to answer for millions of deportations when he served alongside former President Obama, seemingly made the mistake as he was confronted and demanded to apologize for the deportations.
“I want you to apologize to the three million immigrants that were deported and separated from their families under the Obama years,” Breitbart News reports a Spanish-speaking man told Biden via a translator. “I want to know if you will commit to stopping all deportations and detentions if you are elected president.”
“No, I will not halt deportations and detentions, I would make sure that every single—” Biden began to say before he was cut off by the crowd who was chanting “three million deportations” and “apologize now.”
The former vice president went on to clarify that he would not apologize for deporting violent criminals or those with criminal backgrounds from the country, but would apologize for any injustices his former administration may have committed.
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When allowed to finish, Biden said that deportations for a “serious felony” were warranted, while those for “a misdemeanor” were not.
“Under my administration, there will be no family separation until there is a hearing whether or not asylum is in fact warranted,” he said. “And there is no need to put anybody in a private prison, when we did it there was a court where you could have people show up for their hearings whether or not they were separated.”
Claiming that illegal migrants were “more likely to show up” to court proceedings “when they are together rather then being separated,” Biden reiterated that he drew the line between felonies and misdemeanors for deportation.
“I will not apologize for the deportation of people who have committed a felony,” he added. “I will apologize for deportations if in fact you were deported because in fact you were engaged in a misdemeanor… or your family was separated.”
“We need family separation,” Biden added, putting his hands together, appearing to indicate reunification instead.
Watch the interaction below: