By Raoul Lowery Contreras
Former Vice-President Joe Biden has a history of tripping over his two legs and tongue on issues and policies he stands for or against.
Sometimes he supports President Barack Obama on immigration to his detriment. For example, Obama has been labeled “deporter-in-chief” by pro-immigrant groups because he deported an estimated five million people during his two terms in the white House.
But the truth is, he didn’t deport five million people.
Biden applauded President Obama for helping the “Dreamers” by issuing an executive order that set up a system essentially legalizing many who had been brought to the U.S. as minors by adults who entered the country illegally. Biden was right — that was an excellent attempt to solve a problem that most Americans believe should be solved by allowing these kids to be legalized, be deportation-proof and have a path to citizenship.
Biden should have spent all his time in the debate Wednesday praising that Obama effort and criticizing President Trump for attempting to junk the program. Has Biden forgotten that even Republicans support the Dreamers?
He should have faced the question about Obama deporting so many people with the truth. He didn’t and he should have. The truth is Obama’s numbers, though much better than President Trump’s deportation numbers, were phony, or at best misleading. Biden should have explained this.
Misleading immigration numbers are new new. Claims have been made over the years that President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback” deported 13 million illegal aliens and frightened even more to “self-deport.” Those numbers were false. Approximately 2.1 million people were deported under the program.
Yes, the Obama deportation truth would have thrown the former President under the bus, but Biden could have slid out from under the charge of Obama being the “deporter-in-chief.”
Experienced border observers are quick to point out the truth, which is that Presidents Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton and Bush 43 all reported two separate numbers. First were the number of people deported by the Immigration and Naturalization Service after federal judges ordered deportation. Second were the number of people caught within 100 miles of the border by law enforcement or the Border Patrol and deported after voluntarily signing a statement admitting illegal entry.
That’s the truth and that is why Obama deported almost five million people, many of whom volunteered rather endure a long jail stay while waiting for a federal judge to process their case.
The joke on the border was that those voluntarily deported would be back in 24 hours after a good night’s rest.
There’s also another big difference between Trump’s deportation numbers and Obama’s five million. Under Obama, Immigration & Customs Enforcement concentrated on criminal aliens who had been convicted of real crimes in the United States. Today’s ICE deports people for minor crimes like broken tail lights.
If one compares the Obama criminal alien deportations to Trump’s, Trump loses and Biden totally dropped the ball on the goal line with this fumble. Obama deported far more criminal aliens in his first two years that Trump. Biden should have sung that song — loudly.
Pandering to Obama and his supporters caused Biden to screw up. He should have explained the numbers and how Obama concentrated on deporting criminal aliens.
The truth is that, in fact, Obama wasn’t “deporter-in-chief.” He did, however, build some wall and the wall work and repairs Obama sought and signed into law are still being worked on. President Trump is taking the credit for the work.
Of course, there’s more to the legacy that Obama left behind on immigration. It was Obama’s ICE that started putting kids in “cages.”
Biden also appears to not know that all segments of the American public including Republicans have consistently supported legalization of the “Dreamers.”
Biden fumbled badly when asked if he supported Obama’s being – allegedly – the “deporter-in-chief.”
He would have won the night by singing the praises of Obama trying to legalize the kids because almost everyone supports the Dreamers — except for President Trump. Biden did not help himself by avoiding the challenge.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
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