On Thursday morning, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed attendees of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) joint virtual conference in pre-recorded remote interview with four journalists.
The topics covered included criminal justice reform, the El Paso Massacre, the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, COVID-19 recovery, health care disparities, the economy, voter suppression and others issues regarding Black and Latino communities.
The four journalists who interviewed Biden were Errol Barnett, National Correspondent for CBS News; Tia Mitchell, Washington Correspondent for The Atlanta Journal Constitution; Alfredo Corchado, Border Correspondent for The Dallas Morning News; and Lulu Garcia-Navarro, co-host of NPR Weekend Edition.
“You can deal with those who in fact are prejudiced,” Biden said at one point about whether he needs to reach out to white supremacists. “A lot of prejudice is out there, but not everyone’s a white supremacist like the kid who went in and gunned down those folks in El Paso. There’s a difference.”
He also added this about the Latino community later in the interview: “By the way, what you all know, but most people don’t know, unlike the African-American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things. You go to Florida, you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do when you are in Arizona. So it’s a very diverse community.”
At one point, Navarro asked him this question: “Sir, President Obama was known as the ‘deporter-in-chief’ for removing more than 3 million people during the Biden-Obama administration…
“You made me President, thank you,” Biden joked.
“I did, no,” Navarro said, then corrected herself to say “the Obama-Biden administration” before adding, “Trump campaigned on on ‘build that wall.’ Are you willing to tear that wall down?”
“There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration, number one,” Biden said. “Number two, what I’m going to focus on and… the fact is that somebody in this group has written a lot about the border, I’m going make sure that we have border protection but it’s going to be based on making sure that we use high-tech capacity to deal with it, and at the ports of entry. That’s where all the bad stuff is happening.”
Biden also emphasized that under his administration, there will be no government land confiscations for border walls.
When asked about how to bring back an asylum program for migrants, Biden said that he would work with charitable communities and also create more access to immigration judges to have asylum cases heard.
“We shouldn’t be putting these people, when then come across the border, in jail,” Biden said. “We should be monitoring them. There are ways to monitor them without putting them in jail, number one, but we have to make sure that we build up the infrastructure to be able to accommodate. Trump’s cruel and inhumane border policy is ripping children from their mothers’ arms and Trump’s migrant protection protocols, you know, remain in Mexico program. I mean, all of this is going to take time, not a long time, but it’s going to take time… you have to be prepared so we don’t create another crisis.”
“And by the way,” Biden added. “ICE is going to back to school. The idea that ICE is sitting outside of a Mass on Sunday to arrest a parent coming out as undocumented. The idea that they’re going to schools, the idea that they’s going to doctors’ appointments, is wrong. This is about families. Families. And you have so many young children, so many young children, under enormous pressure and psychological pressure, wondering whether or not they’re going to come home and there’s going to be no one there. We need to do so much more. There’s a way, from my perspective, it’s all about families.”