Vice President Joe Biden proposed Tuesday that the United States of America send more foreign aid to Central American countries to stop the flood of illegal immigrants and migrants at the Southern border.
“You know, we can solve the problem at the border and it starts not at the border, we can do it by making the countries and helping the countries where they’re fleeing from better so that they don’t want to leave it in the first place,” he said.
Biden touted his efforts to create a bipartisan program to provide significant economic aid to Central America.
“It was working, the president has just now cut all that money,” he said. “And it was bipartisan, overwhelmingly passed by Democrats and Republicans.”
Biden said that the Trump administration’s removal of protections from deportation for young immigrants and the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border are part of the “battle for the soul of the country” that spurred his White House bid.
Biden, making his first visit as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to heavily Latino Nevada, said President Donald Trump uses immigration “to demonize people.”
“It isn’t who we are. We’re better than that,” Biden said as he kicked off a rally in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson in front of about 200 people.
But after his speech, as he posed for selfies and took pictures along the rope line, he brushed off the questions of a Latino teenager who asked Biden if, as president, he’d commit to ending U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s practice of issuing detainers for immigrants who are arrested or convicted of a crime while in the country illegally.
Biden told the teen that he’d change it but didn’t offer specifics, instead moving away as he said, “Take a look at my website.”
His campaign website doesn’t list a policy on ICE detainers but instead calls for fixing a broken immigration system, securing the border and addressing “the root causes of migration” that lead people to leave their home countries.
Immigration is a key concern in Nevada, the third early state to cast votes for the Democratic presidential nominee. The Western state is considered the first test of a candidate’s appeal before strong labor unions and a diverse population, including about 29 percent who are Latino.
Biden also met Tuesday in Las Vegas with immigration activists in a private roundtable, according to his campaign Instagram account.
Biden spoke at the union’s meeting hall last year as he campaigned for Democratic candidates in the state.
Instead of bringing his presidential campaign message about middle-class workers before the Culinary Union, he was expected Tuesday night to hold a fundraiser with MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren — whose company sits on the other side of the negotiating table from Culinary.
The fundraiser at a Las Vegas Strip luxury hotel comes on the heels of an announcement late last month that MGM Resorts, the state’s largest private employer, expects to cut about 1,000 nonunion jobs by June.
D. Taylor, the former Culinary Union president and current president of the union’s national affiliate Unite Here, sent a letter to Murren last month warning of a corporation’s responsibility to keep good jobs in communities and cautioning that the union would “not stand by silently if the benefits of casinos and casino jobs are imperiled by the financial engineering” of investors.