Several audience members interrupted former Vice President Joe Biden during Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debates.
A female audience member shouted, “Three million deportations!” as Biden was attempting to respond to a question from CNN anchor Don Lemon. The question was about former President Barack Obama’s deportation rates and whether such “higher deportations rates” would resume if Biden were elected president.
“I found that the secretary, we sat together in many meetings, I never heard him talk about any of this when he was the secretary,” Biden said, responding to earlier criticism on the issue from former Obama cabinet member Julian Castro.
A female audience member could be heard shouting, “Three million deportations!” Others soon joined in.
“Please be respectful,” Lemon intoned. “Please be respectful in the crowd. Please continue, Mr. Vice President.”
The shouting continued as Biden tried to continue: “The fact is, the fact is — I don’t know if you can hear. I can hear, but anyway.” (RELATED: Immigrant Activists Storm Biden Headquarters, Demand He Apologize For Deportations)
“We can hear fine, Mr. Vice President,” Lemon said.
“The fact is, what the senator from New York talked about is seeking asylum,” Biden said, after things had calmed down. “The women she spoke to are entitled to asylum. That is not crossing the border illegally. What we should do is flood the zone to make sure we have people to make those decisions quickly. With regard to the secretary’s point, I already proposed and passed $750 million for Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to be able to change the circumstance why people fled in the first place. In addition to that, we’re in a circumstance where if you say you can just cross the border, what do you say to all of those people around the world who in fact want the want the same thing to come to the United States and make their case, that they have to wait in line. The fact of the matter is, you should be able to — if you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. It’s a crime.”
Though he did support pro-immigration initiatives such as DACA, immigration rights groups labeled Obama the “deporter-in-chief” for the high number of illegal immigrants deported under his administration.