Joe Biden mocked an immigration activist on Thursday for asking about the Obama administration’s deportation policy, telling the man he “should vote for” President Donald Trump in 2020.
Speaking at a campaign town hall in Greenwood, South Carolina, the former vice president was confronted by activists from a radical immigrant rights group called Movimiento Cosecha. Initially, a member of the group told Biden it was difficult as an immigrant to trust him because of his defense of the three million deportations that occurred under President Barack Obama’s tenure in office. The activist, who addressed Biden in Spanish through a translator, asked the former vice president if he would commit to ending such deportations through executive action on his first day in office.
“No, I will not stop all deportations,” Biden responded. “I will prioritize deportations, only people who have committed a felony or a serious crime.”
The answer seemed not to please the Carlos Rojas, the activist who was translating for the initial questioner. Rojas, who claimed to have been a volunteer for Obama’s 2008 campaign, began lecturing Biden about the deportations that occurred during his service in the vice presidency. Biden, for his part, seemed unwilling to indulge the activist.
“You should vote for Trump,” the former vice president cut off Rojas mid-sentence as the activist was laying out the Obama administration’s record on immigration.”You should vote for Trump,” Biden repeated mockingly.
“No, I am not going to do that,” Rojas responded, before demanding Biden pledge to end all deportations if elected in president. “We want to hear you say that.”
The former vice president tried to double down on his promise to not stop deportations for those that commit felonies, but was met with shouts of “not one more deportation” by the crowd.
After the confrontation Movimiento Cosecha, issued a statement denouncing the former vice president’s refusal to support a “full moratorium” on deportations.
“By now, it is clear that the immigrant community cannot trust Biden,” Rojas said in the statement. “We won’t accept empty promises of immigration reform, while our families are torn apart. We cannot allow history to repeat itself.”
This is not the first time that Biden has faced trouble over his immigration position on the campaign trail.
In July, one day after his campaign headquarters was stormed by open borders protesters, the former vice president was confronted by an immigration activist in New Hampshire. The activist, who claimed to be undergoing deportation proceedings, demanded that Biden “apologize to the three million immigrants that were deported and separated from their families under the Obama years.” The former vice president simply smirked at the cameras taping the altercation, before telling the activist he would do no such thing.
“I will not apologize for the deportation of people who have committed a felony,” Biden said at the time.