From night two of the Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN:
DON LEMON, CNN: Mr. Vice President –
BIDEN: The president came along, and he’s the guy that came up with the idea the first time ever, dealing with the dreamers. He put that in the law. He had talked about a comprehensive plan which he put on the – laid before the Congress, saying that we should find a pathway to citizenship for people. He said we should up the number of people that we’re able to bring in to this country.
Lastly, he also pointed out that we should go to the source of the problem and fix it where people were leaving in the first place. So he did – to compare him to Donald Trump, I think is absolutely bizarre.
LEMON: Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President. Congresswoman Gabbard, you are a co-sponsor of the College for All Act which would make public colleges and universities free for all Americans. One of the authors of that plan, Senator Sanders, believes college should be tuition-free for undocumented immigrants as well. Do you?
GABBARD: I don’t. I think it’s important for us to fix our legal immigration system and look at the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country who have been suffering as they’ve been living in the shadows.
And instead of putting a band-aid on this problem, fix our legal immigration system to provide them with that pathway to legal residency or citizenships, that they are no longer treated as second-class citizens in this country. We’ve got to look at the challenge that people all across the country are facing, under crushing student debt.
This is something that is impacting my generation in a huge way and I believe that it is our generation that has the bold, creative solutions to be able to solve it. This is about promise for our future and we’ve got to make those kinds of investments.
LEMON: Thank you, Congresswoman. Mayor de Blasio, what’s your response?
DE BLASIO: Yes, I -- I agree with the congress member but I don’t hear an answer from the vice president. I’m confused. I asked the vice president point blank, did he use his power to stop those deportations. He went right around the question.
Mr. Vice President, you want to be president of the United States, you need to be able to answer the tough questions. I guarantee you if you’re debating Donald Trump he’s not going to let you off the hook. So did you say those deportations were a good idea or did you go to the president and say this is a mistake, we shouldn’t do it. Which one?
BIDEN: I was vice president. I am not the president. I keep my recommendation to him in private. Unlike you I can expect you would go ahead and say whatever was said privately with him. That is not what I do.
What I do say to you is he moved to fundamentally change the system. That’s what he did. That’s who did. But much more has to be done. Much more has to be done.
DE BLASIO: I still don’t hear an answer.
LEMON: Senator Booker, please respond.
BOOKER: Well, a couple of things. First of all, Mr. Vice President, you can’t have it both ways. You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign. You can’t do it when it’s convenient and then dodge it when it’s not.
And the second thing that this really urkes (ph) me because I heard the vice president say that if you got a PhD., you can come right into this country. Well that’s playing into what the republicans want, to pit some immigrants against other immigrants.
From are from shithole countries and some are from worthy countries. We need to reform this whole immigration system and begin to be the country that says everyone has worth and dignity and this should be a country that honors for everyone.
Don’t let the Republicans divide this party against itself.
LEMON: Senator, thank you. Mr. Vice President, your response.
BIDEN: The fact is that’s what I said about this country. We are a country of immigrants. All of us. All of us. Some here came against their will; others came because they in fact thought they could fundamentally change their lives. And they did.
(Inaudible) that’s what we’re talking about. That’s what made us great. And the fact of the matter is, I think the president of the United States, Barack Obama, went out of his way to try to change the system and he got pushed back significantly.