Las Vegas, NV. Joe Biden asked Latinos attending his Presidential rally in Las Vegas last Saturday to remember that “we are who we are because we are a nation of immigrants.”
Biden reminded the attendees that he grew up in a lower-middle class Irish-Catholic family during the decline of coal mining and the railroad industry in Scranton, Pa. That experience taught him lessons about discrimination, racism, the importance of education and family that he has never forgotten.
It was the way people were treated that drove him in 1969 to become a public defender and eventually enter politics. In 1970 he was elected to the New Castle County Delaware Council and in 1972, he became a U.S. Senate from Delaware. He was the sixth-youngest senator in American history. Biden was re-elected six times and was the fourth most senior senator when he resigned to assume the vice presidency under Barack Obama in 2009.
Biden recalled his involvement in the civil rights movement and his admiration for Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. While feeling that black-white hatred has diminished, he acknowledged that “hate only hides. It never goes away and when you give it oxygen, it comes back”.
He made it clear that the Trump administration appeals to racism risks “our very soul.” Biden admitted that he feels an “internal almost anger about the divisions in our country today.” “Our children,” he reminded the audience, are listening to Trump and young men are gunning down immigrants because of a false believe that immigrants are “invading America.”
Biden began his talk, declaring that the election is all about families. Referring to his Irish-Catholic background, he said he learned early in life about abuse, of which the greatest, he said, was the abuse of power. Possibly referring to Trump’s treatment of women and children seeking entry into the U.S., he said that “no one should ever raise a hand against a woman or a child.”
When asked about Latino access to power, Biden pointed out that members of his staff are Latino, and Latino politicians endorse his presidential bid. He assured the audience that his administration would look like America and there would be a significant number of Latinos in his cabinet and in senior advisory positions in his White House.
He told the audience that Latinos made up 25% of every single person in school today, and any idea of non-representation is unacceptable. They are our future. He said we must invest more in minorities to move them ahead. This is America, he said. “There is no distinction between the races here.
Biden asked the audience to Think about what it takes to come here. It takes great determination and courage. When asked about the Trump administration immigration policy, Biden said it is devastating and he made it clear that his administration will reduce the anxiety they feel under the Trump administration. Minorities can expect to go back to school. No one will be deported unless they have committed a serious felony. He proposes to raise the immigration quota by 125,000 and give them pathways to citizenship and end family separations. Biden told the Dreamers[i] in the audience that they are already Americans with entitlements to education and health care.
As President, Biden proposes to double Pell Grants[ii] from $6,000 to $12,000 per individual, push for better investments in early education, triple Title One school[iii] , and raise teacher pay to a competitive level.
Biden addressed the fear of being shot in school by pledging to eliminate assault weapons and reduce magazines to 10 rounds. He advocates conducting background checks.
Biden told the audience that the pickup of 41 house seats in the 2018 election signals a retaking of our country from Trump and the Republicans. Seeing children snatched from their mother’s arms and put into cages and hearing Trump diminish the country will cause people to take back our country, he added.
Biden called Trump’s treatment of people in Puerto Rico following a series of natural disasters “despicable.” He proposes to increase tax relief for Puerto Rican’s and bring their population back to a middle-class status with wage protections, the ability to own their own homes and advancements in education.
The middle class is getting killed, he said, adding that we are no longer the wealthiest middle-class nation and our children lack the same advantages as older Americans. “Wall Street didn’t build America,” he said. It was unions and a middle class with hope for a better future. “I was once asked to define America in one word,” he said. “Possibilities,” he said. “Now we are losing that sense of possibilities. Everything has changed,” he added.
In closing, he asked the crowd to judge him on his open record. “America is an idea written into the constitution that we have never fully lived up to,” he said. Adding, “Historically, we led by the power of example and it is being devastated.” Concluding, he said: “If elected, I guarantee you will never have a better friend and the White House.”
[i] A person who has lived in the US without official authorization since coming to the country as a minor. People of this description who met certain conditions would be eligible for a special immigration status under federal legislation first proposed in 2001.
[ii] A Pell Grant is money the government provides for students who need it to pay for college. Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid. Eligible students receive a specified amount each year under this program.
[iii] A Title 1 school is a school receiving federal funds for Title 1 students. The basic principle of Title 1 is that schools with large concentrations of low-income students will receive supplemental funds to assist in meeting student’s educational goals.