Rojas will serve as will serve as Latinx Constituency Organizer for the Iowa arm of Sanders’ campaign. In a statement, the activist said that Sanders has the “most progressive platform” of any candidate when it comes to immigration and related issues.
“For me, working for Bernie Sanders, is beyond Bernie Sanders — it is about redefining the path we, as a nation, started walking in 2016 under 45. It is about rejecting white supremacy and the scapegoating of vulnerable communities and embracing popular ideals,” he added.
“Policies are crucial but creating narratives that reframe the us vs them is just as important and I believe the Bernie campaign is best position to intervene with both policy and narrative.”
Rojas made the headlines in November after an unpleasant encounter with former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders’ closest competitor in the Democratic primary race.
During a town hall in South Carolina, Rojas confronted Biden, criticizing his immigration record. The activist pointed out that millions were deported during Barack Obama’s presidency when Biden served as vice president. He asked Biden to promise to freeze all deportations via executive order if elected president.
The former vice president did not take the criticism well, however. He interrupted Rojas, encouraging him to vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. “You should vote for Trump, you should vote for Trump,” Biden repeatedly said, angrily dismissing the immigrant rights activist, before turning his back on him and walking away.
On the campaign trail, Biden has criticized the Trump administration’s immigration policies, but his own record has also come under intense scrutiny. Notably, during one of the debates, now-former White House hopeful Julián Castro blasted the Obama-Biden legacy, pointing out that millions were deported when Biden was vice president.
"YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR TRUMP" – @JoeBiden.
An immigrant leader confronted Biden in Greenwood, SC about her fear of ICE. She said it's hard for the community to trust him because he defends Obama's deportations.
Then Biden told the Cosecha organizer translating to vote for Trump. pic.twitter.com/A410FSKdiu
— Movimiento Cosecha (@CosechaMovement) November 22, 2019
According to data, Obama deported 2.5 million undocumented immigrants, more than any president in history. Trump, whose administration has been criticized as anti-immigrant, has yet to match Obama in terms of deportation numbers. In 2012, for instance, the Obama-Biden administration deported 409,849 undocumented immigrants. In comparison, in 2018, the Trump administration deported around 256,000 people.
The Sanders campaign’s decision to hire Rojas comes as the Vermont senator and Biden seek to contrast their records and visions, while pitching themselves to the electorate. With the primary competition increasingly looking like a two-way race between Sanders and Biden, the Vermont senator appears to have taken the gloves off, openly criticizing Biden’s record on issues such as war, trade, and welfare.