Former Vice President Joe Biden smirked when asked to apologize for the three million deportations that occurred during the administration of President Barack Obama.
At a campaign rally in Dover, New Hampshire, Biden was confronted by activists for his longstanding views on immigration Friday.
“When Obama was president my brother was detained and deported,” an activist speaking Spanish told Biden through a translator. “I have a three-month-old daughter and two months ago in May I was detained and put into deportation proceedings.”
“I want you to apologize to the three million immigrants that were deported and separated from their families under the Obama years,” the man asked. Biden, who up until that point had remained silent, looked up at the cameras and crowd gathered behind the man and smirked. The former vice president quickly stopped smiling once the man began speaking again.
“I want to know if you will commit to stopping all deportations and detentions if you are elected president,” the man asked.
“No,” Biden responded defiantly. “I will not halt deportations and detentions, I would make sure that every single,” before he could continue speaking the translator jumped in to ask Biden again if he would apologize “for the three million deportations” that occurred under Obama.
“No, what I will,” Biden began to say before a crowd of immigration activists cut him off with chants of “three million deportations” and “apologize now.” The former vice president remained quiet with a smirk on his face watching the protesters.
“You want me to answer the question,” he asked after a moment of remaining quiet. “You want me to answer your questions?”
A woman is heard in the video of the encounter, which was recorded by the Republican National Committee, saying, “yes please.”
“No you don’t really,” Biden said in response to the woman above the chanting. “But the fact of the matter is deportation for a serious felony is a deportation. Deportation for a misdemeanor should not be deported. Under my administration, there will be no family separation until there is a hearing whether or not asylum is in fact warranted.”
“And there is no need to put anybody in a private prison, when we did it there was a court where you could have people show up for their hearings whether or not they were separated,” Biden said. “They are more likely to show up when they are together rather then being separated, that’s a fact.”
“I will not apologize for the deportation of people who have committed a felony,” he added. “I will apologize for deportations if in fact you were deported because in fact you were engaged in a misdemeanor… or your family was separated.”
“We need family separation,” Biden added while putting his hands together, appearing to indicate reunification instead.
The confrontation occurred one day after immigration activists stormed Biden’s campaign headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in protest of the deportations that took place under Obama.
The altercation resulted in Philadelphia police arresting six activists from the group that invaded Biden’s headquarters. Most of the protesters, however, appeared to be undocumented and fled upon the arrival of law enforcement.