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Joe Biden says his DACA proposal will help Asian Americans

The former vice president says Asian immigrants are part of the “reason why America is who we are.”
Image: Joe Biden
Joe Biden greets supporters at Harbor Palace Seafood Restaurant at Chinatown Plaza Mall on Feb. 18, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nev.Alex Wong / Getty Images

LAS VEGAS – With just days until the Nevada caucuses, former Vice President Joe Biden and his campaign are making their final pitch to the Asian American community.

Hours before early voting ended Tuesday in Nevada — the first primary state with a significant number of diverse voters — Biden lauded the Asian immigrant population, pointing to them as the “reason why America is who we are.” But he made a point to stress to the majority Asian American and Pacific Islander community gathered in the Harbor Palace Seafood Restaurant that even though the issue of immigration is often seen through a Hispanic-focused lens, he knows that Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants undergo the same difficulties to attaining full citizenship benefits.

Specifically, Biden touted that his plan to immediately pass an executive order to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipients would also recognize the millions of AAPI who came to the United States as children.

“Most people think only about Latino immigrants when we talk about 'Dreamers.' Well, guess what? DACA offered a critical opportunity to thousands and thousands of AAPI 'Dreamers' as well. It's not just the Latino community, it's beyond that,” he said.

One of Biden’s two immigration plans acknowledged that “there are approximately 1.7 million undocumented immigrants from Asia,” who could benefit from his proposals. Highlights from his immigration plan call for ending family separations, allowing asylum requests that were halted under the Trump administration and reforming the immigration application process.

Biden’s plan would not immediately extend a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, but it would “explore all legal options to protect their families from inhumane separation,” the plan reads.

The Biden campaign has been making significant efforts to appeal to minority communities, amplifying his message that the first two voting states, Iowa and New Hampshire, are not representative of a majority of the country’s wishes. Even before his disappointing finishes in both states, the Nevada branch of the Biden campaign has had AAPI-dedicated staffers hold AAPI-centered phone banks, canvass launches and mock caucuses to motivate turnout for the former vice president. Biden and his surrogate Michelle Kwan participated in an AAPI Twitter town hall last week, moderated by NBC Asian America.

Biden motivated the almost 300 people gathered in the heart of Las Vegas’ Chinatown to caucus for him by telling them that their voices and votes are crucial to defeat President Donald Trump.

“The support of your community, AAPI community, has been incredible,” Biden said before sending attendants off to early voting across the street. “Here's the deal, we haven't heard from 99 percent of the AAPI community. We haven't heard from 99.9 percent of the African American community, we haven't heard from 99 percent of the Hispanic or Latino community. The idea that we're going decide a nomination before we've heard from all of those folks, all of you, is absolutely ridiculous.”