Democrats’ top two presidential candidates declared Sunday that they will halt key aspects of immigration enforcement as soon as they take the White House, and promised to work to legalize most of those here illegally.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden affirmed his plan for a 100-day halt to all deportations.
“No one, no one will be deported at all,” he said at a debate with Sen. Bernard Sanders.
After the 100-day period he said he would only deport those with felonies on their record, effectively carving almost all illegal immigrants out of danger of deportation.
Mr. Biden also refuted the Obama administration’s policy of cracking down on sanctuary cities, saying flatly that he would not ask local authorities to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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The answer was prompted by Univision anchor Ilia Calderón asking Biden about comments he had recently made on Obama-era immigration policy, in which he called the amount of deportations a "big mistake."
When Biden was vice president, the United States routinely deported hundreds of thousands of people from the country each year.
Biden admitted it "took much too long to get it right," but he argued the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and other choices amended the prior mistakes.
Biden also said if elected he would guarantee citizenship for 11 million currently undocumented immigrants.
"So, to be clear, only felons get deported and everyone else gets to stay," Calderón asked.
"Period. Yes," Biden said. "It's about uniting families. It's about making sure that we can both be a nation of immigrants as well as a nation that is decent."
This is not the first time the former vice president has promised to end deportations for the first 100 days of his presidency. During a CNN town hall in Nevada, Biden said he would only deport illegal immigrants who commit felonies within the United States.