Joe Biden: "Trump’s morally bankrupt re-election strategy relies on vilifying immigrants"

From immigration to the Venezuela crisis, Biden blasts the president's policies toward Latin America in a new op-ed

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published June 24, 2019 3:14PM (EDT)

Joe Biden; Donald Trump (Getty/Sean Rayford/Mandel Ngan)
Joe Biden; Donald Trump (Getty/Sean Rayford/Mandel Ngan)

From immigration to the Venezuela crisis, former Vice President Joe Biden blasted President Donald Trump's policies toward Latin America — in an editorial published Monday in the Miami Herald.

"Last week gave us more evidence that President Trump’s morally bankrupt re-election strategy relies on vilifying immigrants to score political points, while implementing policies that ensure asylum seekers and refugees keep arriving at our border," Biden wrote at the beginning of the op-ed.

The former vice president discussed Trump threat to deport millions of undocumented immigrants shortly after announcing he would off aid to many of the countries from which those immigrants are fleeing, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. He argued that Trump "is only interested in using his policies to assault the dignity of the Hispanic community and scare voters to turn out on Election Day, while not addressing the real challenges facing our hemisphere."

After praising America's numerous Latin American immigrant communities, Biden advocated for "recognizing that DREAMers are Americans," reforming America's asylum system, abandoning Trump's proposed southern border wall and instead "improving screening procedures at our legal ports of entry and making smart investments in border technology."

Biden reserved particular animosity for Trump's controversial family separation policy.

"Under Trump, there have been horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages, tear-gassing asylum seekers, ripping children from their mothers’ arms — actions that subvert American values and erode our ability to lead on the global stage," Biden wrote. He also denounced the "racist invective," such as calling migrants "animals," before turning his attention toward the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

"Trump has badly misjudged what it will take to bring democracy back to Venezuela, and his increasing belligerence threatens the international coalition of more than 50 countries that recognize Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela," Biden continued. "To date, the administration has made every effort to capitalize politically on the Venezuelan crisis, but its refusal to grant TPS to the thousands of Venezuelans fleeing persecution shows it cares little about the Venezuelan people’s suffering."

He added that Trump should also be faulted for "badgering Mexico with the threat of tariffs, flinging insults at vital partners such as Colombia and callously limiting the ability of Cuban Americans to reunite with and support their families in Cuba, and the administration’s Latin America policy, at best, is a Cold War-era retread and, at worst, an ineffective mess."

Biden's op-ed in the Herald comes in the lead-up prior to the first round of debates in the 2020 Democratic nominating contest in Miami, which is home to a robust community of Latin American immigrants.

But he is not the only moderate Democrat who has been critical of Trump's foreign policy toward Latin America. When speaking with Salon earlier this year, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed her own views on Trump's policy toward Venezuela.

"Well, he’s using it in that particular way because obviously what was going on in Venezuela was something that began as a popular movement by [Juan] Guaidó and the man has now declared himself President," Albright told Salon. "But I do think, and this is a little difficult to talk about, because I do think that some of the parts in terms of supporting what has happened are absolutely appropriate. Not only by the United States but also in conjunction with some of the Latin American countries, the so-called Lima Group [Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia], who are supportive of what is going on, as well as Canada. I thought, however, that the introduction of using military force at that particular time is something that did give kind of an alibi or an excuse to Maduro to say that this is just intervention."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa