Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign suffered a setback after its most senior staffer for Latino and African American outreach quit, citing frustrations with Biden’s immigration stance.
Vanessa Cárdenas was the campaign’s top Latino advisor and the national coalitions director, but left the position last week, as Politico reports.
According to Politico, friends of Cárdenas said she was frustrated because she felt the campaign did not listen to her advice on immigration policy and Hispanic outreach.
“Vanessa kept banging her head against the wall, trying to get them to take the community more seriously. And Biden just really won’t change when it comes to the way he talks about immigration. It became too much.”
Friends also claimed that the campaign was “hyper-focused on whites in Iowa.”
“The campaign is just hyper-focused on whites in Iowa and African-Americans, and it placed less value on Latino outreach.”
Biden’s campaign has had a hard time finding its footing when it comes to Hispanic outreach. As Politico reports, Biden skipped a gathering of elected Latino officials in June, a move the organizer of the event said carries “significant risk.”
He has also faced criticism on the Democratic debate stage for former President Barack Obama’s record on deportations and has been pressured to answer if he supported the deportations or if lobbied against them.
In October, the Biden campaign launched a new Hispanic outreach program but did not buy the domain name for a website, opening the door for President Donald Trump’s campaign to acquire the domain and troll Biden, as IJR has previously reported.
Biden recently was confronted by immigration activists during a campaign event in South Carolina over Obama’s record on deportations. At first, Biden responded snarkily by saying they should vote for Trump.
He continued to say that he would not stop all deportations as president, but would continue deportations for those who committed felonies. Then he asked the protesters if they believed convicted murderers should not be deported.
“No matter what happens, some commits murder they shouldn’t be deported? Let me ask you a question if someone commits murder, they shouldn’t be deported?”
Additionally, Biden said that under his presidency he would end the controversial family separation policy.
Watch the exchange below:
“You should vote for Trump,” Joe Biden tells @CosechaMovement protester Carlos Rojas at tonight’s town hall in Greenwood, S.C.— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) November 22, 2019
Rojas and other protesters from the group were criticizing Obama-era deportations and asked Biden to say he’d end all deportations — which he rejected. pic.twitter.com/od188WIlrQ
That moment underscores some of the issues that Cárdenas was facing, according to some of her friends.
“What happened last week was a perfect example of what Vanessa was dealing with. Biden just refuses to talk about the issue in a compassionate way.”
Despite allegedly being “hyper-focused on whites,” polls have found Biden leading other Democratic candidates among Latino Democrats in Texas and California.