By Lauren Rearick
UPDATE (09/13/19, 3:45 p.m. ET): A NAKASEC representative confirmed that members of their group were responsible for the protest during the debate.
Protestors made their presence known at the close of Thursday’s Democratic presidential primary debate. As former Vice President Joe Biden started his closing remarks, four DACA recipients affiliated with the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) erupted in chants.
"We are DACA recipients. Our lives are at risk. Save DACA in the Supreme Court now," the group chanted, referencing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that began in 2012.
In a video posted to Twitter by NAKASEC, one of the protestors clarified that the chants weren't planned, but were "more emotional." After chanting, they were briefly held by police, according to NAKASEC's Twitter.
Thursday’s debate was not the first time Biden has faced pushback related to the deportations. A similar demonstration by immigration rights group Movimiento Cosecha was held at the Biden campaign headquarters in Philadelphia, Politico reported.
Biden faced plenty of questions about the deportations at Thursday’s debate. When Jorge Ramos asked him why Latinx voters should trust him given the three million deportations that the administration oversaw, the former vice president said: “[Obama] did the best thing that was able to be done.” Later, Biden doubled down and explained, "I stand with Barack Obama all eight years. Good, bad, and indifferent. That's where I stand. I did not say I did not stand with him."
He also claimed that the Obama administration’s tactics weren’t as overtly evil as the Trump administration’s policies. “We didn’t lock people up in cages, we didn’t separate families,” the former Vice President said on Thursday, though that isn’t true. Such actions did happen, as many people pointed out online.
July’s Democratic presidential debate also included a question about the deportations, but Biden did not give a direct answer, which Senator Cory Booker later called him out for. As of the conclusion of Thursday’s debate, Biden has still not directly answered whether he agreed with the deportations. He does not currently have an immigration-reform policy on his official campaign website.