July 10, 2019
Six participants in a sit-in at Joe Biden's Centre Square campaign headquarters in Center City were arrested Wednesday afternoon, after hours of protests and demands for an apology from the former vice president of the United States.
Movimiento Cosecha, an immigrant rights advocacy group, organized the sit-in protest at Biden's headquarters and was seeking an apology from the Democratic presidential hopeful for the deportation of 3 million immigrants during President Barack Obama's presidency.
Arrests were just made as immigrants and allies continue to demand that @JoeBiden, and all presidential candidates, commit to an immigration platform that ensures dignity for all undocumented people.— Movimiento Cosecha (@CosechaMovement) July 10, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/zPLLKiP3Yi pic.twitter.com/llSsvIRWpE
The Obama administration's handling of immigrant rights and deportation was a topic during last month's Democratic presidential debates, when Biden defended the Obama adminstration's deportation policies.
California senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris, however, claimed that Obama's policies allowed the deportation of people "who, by (U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement)'s own definition, were non-criminals."
Much of the recent conversation around immigration policies and immigrant detention has focused on President Donald Trump's administration, but Movimiento Cosecha's demonstration Wednesday was intentionally focused elsewhere.
"Opposing Trump’s policies and returning to a status quo of silent deportations is not good enough," the group said Wednesday on Facebook. "We must start a conversation about what dignity for immigrants really looks like."
The idea behind Movimiento Cosecho's sit-in Wednesday, the group said, was to remind the public, and press Biden, about the deportation of non-criminal immigrants.
Happening now: Allies are being threatened with arrests at @JoeBiden's campaign headquarters in Philadelphia after immigrant families shut down the building to share their stories of detention and deportation under Obama. #DignityNotDeportation pic.twitter.com/CqkITsh8rO— Movimiento Cosecha (@CosechaMovement) July 10, 2019
“We can’t ignore the fact (Biden) was complacent to Obama’s vicious deportation machine,” Catalina Santiago, media coordinator at Movimiento Cosecha, told HuffPost. “He is shamelessly ignoring the countless families he destroyed.”
The organization has issued what it calls a "Dignity Plan" for 2020, and made three demands of all presidential candidates: to end to all detention and deportation on the candidate's first day in office; to legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.; and to reunite families separated by U.S. detention and deportation.
In response to Movimiento Cosecha's demands for an apology, the Biden campaign said it doesn't have a statement at this time:
Biden campaign said they don’t have a statement at the moment.— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) July 10, 2019
On the politics of this, Biden is relying on his VP record to appeal to black voters but that could also alienate Latino voters, especially young latinx voters.
Movimiento Cosecha was also behind a protest at Center City's Comcast building last July, when eight protesters were arrested during a national day of protests against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.