When Pressed About Obama’s Deportation Legacy, Biden Tells Immigrant Rights Leader to ‘Vote for Trump’

Nov 22, 2019
8:12 AM

On Thursday night during a campaign event in Greenwood, South Carolina, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told a Movimiento Cosecha immigrant rights leader that he should “should vote for Trump” when asked about President Obama’s deportation record.

The exchange instantly started making the social media rounds and has already been published on national outlets. On early Friday morning, Movimiento Cosecha shared the following captioned video:

The video, which showed two exchanges, began with a question in Spanish from Silvia Morreno from immigrant rights group Dignidad Inmigrante. Carlos Rojas of Movimiento Cosecha is seen translating for Morreno.

“Every day I live with the fear that ICE will separate my family,” Morreno told Biden in the video through Rojas. “You defended the 3 million deportations under Obama’s administration, and that is why it is hard for me to trust you. I want to know whether you would stop deportations through executive action on your first day in office.”

At this point, Biden said, “No, I will not stop deportations. I will prioritize deportations, only people who commit a felony or a serious crime.”

The second part of the video shows Rojas, who was continuing to translate for Morreno, saying the following: “In 2008, I was a volunteer for Obama because I had hope and I believed in the promises that he made to the immigrant community. The fact is that over those eight years, over 3 million people were deported and separated from families.”

“Well you should vote for Trump then,” Biden told Rojas twice. He then turned back on Rojas before repeating his position on deportations.

Rojas responded: “No, no, no. I’m not gonna do that. I want to make sure immigrant families and people like Silvia aren’t afraid. You have the power, as a candidate, to actually commit to stop all deportations from day one—and we want to hear you say that.”

Biden refused, and protesters in the audience started chanting “Not One More Deportation.”

“By now, it is clear that the immigrant community cannot trust Biden,” Rojas said in a statement after the campaign event. “Any candidate who claims to be against Trump’s raids and family separations needs to commit to a full moratorium on deportations. We won’t accept empty promises of immigration reform, while our families are torn apart. We cannot allow history to repeat itself.”

So far, the only Democratic candidate to take such a stance is Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator had changed his position days after he recorded a Latino USA interview where he shared a similar position as Biden’s. (Latino USA is part of Futuro Media, the same company that produces Latino Rebels.)

Thursday’s exchange is the latest of a series of actions organized by Movimiento Cosecha that is “demanding primary candidates distance themselves from Obama’s legacy of 3 million deportations, and commit to a moratorium on deportations on their first day in office,” according to a Cosecha media release.

This is also the fourth time Cosecha has confronted the Biden campaign about this issue. The first time happened this past July in Philadelphia.

A few days later, an immigrant rights activist named Nelson, whose brother was deported during the Obama administration, asked Biden to apologize and also make a commitment a moratorium on deportations.

The latest confrontation happened during the Democratic debate in Detroit.

Latino Rebels reached out to the Biden campaign for comment, and as of this publication has not heard back from them.

UPDATE, November 25, 6pm ET: Three days after Latino Rebels contacted the Biden campaign for comment, a campaign media staffer shared a November 22 tweet three response by senior adviser Cristóbal Alex: