Identified as Carlos Rojas, the activist interrupted Biden’s event, criticizing his immigration record. Rojas pointed out that millions were deported and separated from their families during Barack Obama’s presidency when Biden served as vice president.
“Over those eight years, there were three million people that were deported and separated from their families,” Rojas said.
The activist went on to continue his protest, but Biden interrupted, advising him to vote for Trump.
“You should vote for Trump, you should vote for Trump,” the former vice president repeatedly said.
“No, no, no, I’m not going to do that,” the activist responded, but Biden was unfazed. He turned his back on Rojas and walked away.
Reportedly a member of the Cosecha Movement, an activist group fighting for the rights of undocumented workers, Rojas did not give up. He pressed Biden, urging him to commit to a deportation freeze.
As president, Rojas argued, Biden would be able to freeze all deportations via executive order.
“You have the power as a candidate to actually commit to stop all deportations from day one through executive action. We want to hear you say that.”
Biden rejected the activist’s idea, arguing that immigrants who commit felonies should be deported.
“I will not stop all deportations if you commit a crime that is a felony,” the former vice president said.
The Democrat’s response prompted Rojas to begin a chant, and other protesters present at the event joined him.
Although Biden did not commit to freezing all deportations, he committed to ending family separation if elected in 2020.
“That’s a lie! That’s a lie!” Rojas and other activists shouted.
“That’s a lie?” Biden asked, and the activists resumed chanting.
“You should vote for Trump,” Joe Biden tells @CosechaMovement protester Carlos Rojas at tonight’s town hall in Greenwood, S.C.— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) November 22, 2019
Rojas and other protesters from the group were criticizing Obama-era deportations and asked Biden to say he’d end all deportations — which he rejected. pic.twitter.com/od188WIlrQ
Although Biden has decried President Donald Trump’s immigration policies on the campaign trail, his own record was heavily scrutinized during one of the Democratic primary debates.
In August, during a fiery exchange, Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro criticized the former vice president’s positions on immigration, pointing out — much like Rojas pointed out on Thursday — that the Obama administration deported millions.
Castro later clarified his comments, explaining that he believes there are significant differences between Trump and Obama’s immigration policies.
Nicknamed “the Deporter-in-Chief’ by immigration activists,” Obama deported more undocumented immigrants than any president in United States history — more than 2.5 million.
According to reports, although Trump has campaigned and continues to govern as an immigration hard-liner, his deportation numbers still don’t match Obama’s. In 2018, for instance, Trump deported more than 256,000 undocumented immigrants — Obama deported 409,849 in 2012.