By Lauren Rearick
Protestors made their presence known at the close of Thursday’s Democratic presidential primary debate.
As former Vice President Joe Biden started his closing remarks, some members of the debate audience erupted in chants. And social media believed the protest was related to mass deportations that had occurred during Barack Obama’s term.
According to reports on Twitter, the protestors chanted “3 million deportations,” which, as Politico previously pointed out, was the number of migrants deported from the United States under President Obama. Another person claimed the protestors said, “We are DACA recipients, our lives are at risk,” referencing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that began in 2012. Although it’s unconfirmed, some speculated that the protest may have been organized by United We Dream; MTV News has reached out to the organization for comment.
Thursday’s debate was not the first time Biden has faced pushback related to the deportations. A similar demonstration by immigration rights group Movimiento Cosecha was held at the Biden campaign headquarters in Philadelphia, Politico reported.
Biden faced plenty of questions about the deportations at Thursday’s debate. When Jorge Ramos asked him why Latinx voters should trust him given the three million deportations that the administration oversaw, the former vice president said: “[Obama] did the best thing that was able to be done.” Later, Biden doubled down and explained, “I stand with Barack Obama all eight years. Good, bad and indifferent. That’s where I stand. I did not say I did not stand with him.”
He also claimed that the Obama administration’s tactics weren’t as overtly evil as the Trump administration’s policies. “We didn’t lock people up in cages, we didn’t separate families,” the former Vice President said on Thursday, though that isn’t true. Such actions did happen, as many people pointed out online.
July’s Democratic presidential debate also included a question about the deportations, but Biden did not give a direct answer, which Senator Cory Booker later called him out for. As of the conclusion of Thursday’s debate, Biden has still not directly answered whether he agreed with the deportations. He does not currently have an immigration-reform policy on his official campaign website.