2020 Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign hit another snag as his senior Latina advisor Vanessa Cárdenas quit.

She became “frustrated over her lack of input and with the presidential candidate’s immigration rhetoric.”

Marc Caputo at Politico has more:

Vanessa Cárdenas, the most senior Latina Biden staffer, had been serving as national coalitions director since the campaign formally announced its existence April 25. She resigned last week and has since changed her bio on Twitter to say she was “formerly with @joebiden.”

Cárdenas did not return a call or text message, but two friends familiar with her thinking told POLITICO that she felt the campaign wasn’t heeding her advice on immigration as she tried to reach out to Latino groups that have had longstanding concerns with the former vice president’s rhetoric and record stemming from the Obama administration.

Friends said Biden’s campaign has focused so much “on whites in Iowa and African-Americans” while mostly ignoring the Latino community:

“Vanessa kept banging her head against the wall trying to get them to take the community more seriously,” the friend, who wasn’t authorized to speak on her behalf, said. “And Biden just really won’t change when it comes to the way he talks about immigration. It became too much.”

Biden still has a Latino outreach team. Cristóbal Alex, former president of the Latino Victory Fund, serves as a senior advisor. Laura Jiménez works as the Latinx outreach director.

Caputo points out that Biden leads “among Latino voters in many national polls and surveys of states with heavy Hispanic populations.” He has tied with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in other polls of Latinos.

Despite the polls, Biden has faced criticism among Latinos. The latest happened just last week in South Carolina when he spoke with immigration activist Carlos Rojas. The gaffe highlighted why Cárdenas left:

“No. I will not stop all deportations. I will prioritize deportations, only people who have committed a felony or serious crime,” Biden told Rojas.

Rojas then told Biden that he had volunteered for the Obama-Biden campaign in 2008 but became disenchanted with the Obama administration because “over those 8 years, there were 3 million people that were deported and separated from their families.”

“You should vote for Trump,” Biden cut in.

Cárdenas’ friend stressed to Politico that the exchange showed why she had so many concerns with Biden. The exchange showed that “Biden just refuses to talk about the issue in a compassionate way.”

Biden skipped a forum with Latino leaders in Miami, FL, in June:

“This is one of the first real national platforms for candidates to speak to Latino voters and its leadership, and to be a no-show is a significant risk,” said Arturo Vargas, CEO of the group, known as NALEO.

Biden’s absence at NALEO isn’t an isolated incident, according to operatives and organizers focused on mobilizing Latinos on the ground in key states. His campaign has offered almost no direct outreach or verbal acknowledgment of the rapidly growing Latino electorate, they say, and has made little if any inroads with the Latino community in critical swing states like Nevada or Florida.

In August, Biden had to perform some damage control after he upset “dozens of immigration activists and Latino leaders” for “using what they considered loaded language to describe his views on immigration policy.”

These leaders blasted Biden for using supposed “Republican talking points” during a debate. He said during the debate “that undocumented immigrants need to ‘get in line’ and that the country has been right to ‘cherry-pick’ high-skilled immigrants, notably those with advanced degrees.”


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