Joe Biden is now doing what Democrats always do when asked to defend their stance on immigration: He’s pretending he doesn’t support the thing he just advocated.
All the Democrats on stage at the second Democratic debate last week, including Biden, raised their hands to affirm that their healthcare plans “would provide coverage” for illegal immigrants. But in an interview that aired Friday on CNN, Biden tried desperately to pretend that’s not his position, while still maintaining that there would be free health care for illegal immigrants (though he’d rather not call it that).
Biden said in the interview that illegal immigrants “need to have a means by which they can be covered when they’re sick,” which apparently should not at all be confused with “health insurance.” He further clarified that the government should be “building more clinics around the country” so that illegal immigrants can be cared for “when they’re sick, when they’re ill.”
Chris Cuomo told Biden what he presumably already knew, which is that nearly 60% of Americans oppose government healthcare for illegal immigrants.
And so Biden, summoning the bold leadership we need, took all of it back. “Well, let me tell you something,” he said, “in an emergency, they should have healthcare. … How do you say, you’re undocumented, I’m gonna let you die, man?”
Oh, so Biden’s position is that illegal immigrants who need urgent care should be able to visit the emergency room, otherwise known as– exactly what the law already is today. It’s called the Emergency Medical Treatment And Labor Act, which “requires hospital emergency departments to medically screen every patient who seeks emergency care and to stabilize or transfer those with medical emergencies, regardless of health insurance status or ability to pay.”
This is what they always do. At the first debate last week, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro pushed every other Democrat on stage to pledge that if elected president, they would decriminalize unauthorized border crossings, in essence allowing unfettered access to anyone wanting in to the U.S. (which is everyone south of Texas). The very next day, Castro pretended that’s not what he said. “I’m for decriminalizing, not legalizing,” he said on CNN. He added that there would still be “civil penalties” and a “process” but he described neither.
The lesson: When Democrats are asked to talk about immigration, believe them the first time.