Immigrant Activists Storm Biden Headquarters, Demand He Apologize For Deportations

REUTERS/Leah Millis

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Immigrant rights activists protested inside Joe Biden’s campaign headquarters in Philadelphia, demanding the former vice president apologize for the deportations that took place during the Obama administration.

“We are here with families who have had their families separated both under the Obama and Trump administrations, and we are demanding that Biden apologize for overseeing 3 million deportations under the Obama administration, and we are calling for Biden and 2020 Democratic candidates to commit to ending deportation and detention in their first day in office,” said a spokeswoman Wednesday during the Facebook live coverage of the protest.

The group behind the rally, Movimiento Cosecha — which translates to “Harvest Movement” in English — has been behind other immigration-related protests, such as a push to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses. Members of the organization wanted to bring attention to the Obama administration’s record on immigration enforcement.

The protest highlighted a seemingly incongruous fact: Deportations were higher during the Obama administration than they are under the Trump White House.

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures with Vice President Joe Biden after his election night victory speech in Chicago, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ELECTIONS)

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures with Vice President Joe Biden after his election night victory speech in Chicago, Nov. 6, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 385,000 illegal aliens each fiscal year from 2009 to 2011 and reached a record high of 409,849 in fiscal year 2012. The numbers drove critics to brand former President Barack Obama as the “deporter in chief.” Deportations are steadily rising under President Donald Trump’s watch, however, the number of people getting booted out of country has yet to reach the highs seen during his predecessor’s time.

Relatives of those who’ve been deported, and other immigrant activists, took their Wednesday protest inside Biden’s campaign headquarters, speaking Spanish via a microphone and chanting “Shame!” continuously.

“We are here to say that we have not forgotten the 3 million deportations that happened under the Obama administration. Biden oversaw 3 million deportations,” the spokeswoman reiterated during the protest. (RELATED: Tear Gas And Cages: What Immigration Enforcement Looked Like Under Vice President Joe Biden)

The rally was not only meant to attack Biden, but also to highlight their demands for immigration reform. Movimiento Cosecha called Wednesday for Democratic presidential candidates to end all deportations beginning on “day one” of their administration, the return of aliens who have been “unjustly” deported during the Obama and Trump era, and the immediate legalization of the estimated 11 million illegal aliens currently living in the U.S.

Biden is campaigning in Iowa Wednesday and was not present for the protest at his campaign building.

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