New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said on Sunday that former Vice President – and current Democratic presidential primary frontrunner – Joe Biden should “absolutely” answer for the Obama administration’s deportation record.
Calling the Obama administration’s handling of immigrant deportations a “mistake,” de Blasio – one of almost two dozen Democrats trying to close the polling gap with Biden – said that Democrats have the same responsibility to answer for their record on immigration that Republicans do.
“Let’s be honest, I think there’s a lot of issues where Democrats and Republicans, unfortunately, have some responsibility for the problems,” de Blasio said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That was a mistake, in the end, what we needed a very different approach.”
De Blasio argued that the Obama administration, and Biden as vice president, have to answer for the record rates of deportations during their time in the White House.
“Democrats often been scared of their own shadows,” de Blasio said.
The New York City mayor also took issue with President Trump’s plan to deport undocumented immigrants through raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – saying that it will “divide Americans.”
The deportation raids would pursue people with final deportation orders, including families whose immigration cases were fast-tracked by judges in 10 major cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. The plan has sparked outrage and concern among immigrant-rights advocates and lawmakers.
“Our communities have been in constant fear,” Estela Vara, a Chicago-area organizer said Thursday at a rally outside the city’s Immigration and Custom Enforcement offices where some activists chanted “Immigration Not Deportation!”
The raids began late Saturday night and into the early morning hours on Sunday in “a number of jurisdictions,” not just New York City, a senior administration official confirmed to Fox News.
In an interview on “FOX & Friends,” Acting ICE director Matt Albence said while he couldn’t speak to anything specifically from an operational perspective, the overarching concern when the agency conducts any sort of enforcement operation is “the safety and security of both our officers that are conducting the operation as well as the public.”
“We are doing targeted enforcement actions against specific individuals who have had their day in immigration court and have been ordered to be removed by an immigration judge,” Albence told Fox News. “We are merely executing those lawfully issued judge’s orders.”
Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and The Associated Press contributed to this report.