Former vice president Joe Biden said at a campaign event in Iowa Thursday that most undocumented immigrants benfitting from the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are “more American than most Americans.”
“These kids have come, they’ve done well, most of these kids — there’s a lot of them . . . they in fact have done very, very well,” Biden said. “In many cases, they’re more American than most Americans are because they have done well in school. They believe the basic principles that we all share. I think they should, in fact, put on a path to citizenship.”
Biden, who earlier this week said he would fire any ICE agent attempting to deport illegal immigrants who had not committed a felony, has been an outspoken defendant of former president Barack Obama’s immigration record.
“We didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families. We didn’t do all of those,” the former vice president said during the September Democratic debate. In November, the U.N. revealed that Obama held over 100,000 illegal immigrant children in detention in 2015.
DACA is currently facing a Supreme Court decision on its survival, after the Trump administration decided to end it in 2017.
A November report from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services showed that approximately one in 10 DACA recipients have an arrest record, after President Trump tweeted many had criminal backgrounds.
“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels.’ Some are very tough, hardened criminals,” Trump wrote on November 12.
Trump has also stated he would be open to a “deal” with Democrats to allow DACA recipients to stay in the U.S.