During the final presidential debate, President Donald Trump called himself the “least racist person in the room” in front of Black moderator NBC White House Correspondent Kristen Welker. He also called immigrants rapists and murders while discussing the Obama-era catch and release policy. “A murderer would come in, a rapist would come in, a very bad person would come in,” he said.
Welker directed an immigration prompt to Trump saying, “the U.S. can’t locate the parents of more than 500 children. So how will these families ever be reunited?” Trump said the children are brought here by Coyotes (unclear if he knows that Coyotes are people who assist migrants on their journey to the US or if he believes wild animals carried the children), “lots of bad people,” and cartels.
He wasn’t answering the question directly so Welker pressured him against asking how he’ll reunite the families. Trump then focused on who built the “horrible” cages—not who is currently using them to house migrant kids. For the third time, Welker asked if he had a “plan to reunite the kids” to which Trump responded that he’s working on it and trying very hard and again stressed that “a lot of these kids come over without their parents, they come over through cartels, Coyotes, and gangs.” RAICES tweeted that this is simply not true.
Biden responded to Trump’s allegations stating “coyotes didn’t bring them over. Their parents were with them. They got separated from their parents. And it makes us a laughingstock. And it violates every notion of who we are as a nation.” The former vice president said the minors “don’t know where their parents are or where they’re going to live” and that they were “ripped from their arms and they were separated and now they can’t find 500 sets of those parents and those kids are alone.”
He also acknowledged that the Obama administration was no stranger to mishandling immigration. We made a mistake,” Biden said as he showed remorse and apologized for the pain caused.
Trump victim-blamed migrant families for being separated at the border. The president said that the children who have been forcibly removed from their families are “so well taken care of” in “facilities that are so clean.” This is incredibly false as migrant children have died in US custody, had limited access to basic human rights, and many have been sexually abused and raped. Their parents are the people who could take care of them well but Trump’s administration has kept these families separated for over three years.
Trump falsely said that only 1% of immigrants “come back” for court dates. Biden, visibly disgusted responded, “not true.” Trump said he has to send ICE out as they “never come back” and that those with the “lowest IQ” attend their immigration proceedings. This rhetoric is inaccurate, deeply insulting, and racist. According to recent data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, 99% of asylum seekers show up for their hearings.
Biden stuck to his declaration that he’d prioritize immigration policy in his first 100 days in office. Previously he stated he’d initially freeze deportation. On the debate stage last night he said he would send Congress a comprehensive immigration reform plan including a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the States.