Former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign attempted to respond to other Democrats' criticisms of former President Obama's deportations when rolling out Biden's immigration plan on Wednesday.
“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden administration,” his campaign wrote.
It added that the country "must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers."
Biden's fellow Democratic candidates have used his former boss's deportation record as an attack line in an attempt to knock the frontrunner down a peg. Last month, Biden was confronted by a protester who cited Obama's massive number of deportations.
“You should vote for Trump. You should vote for Trump,” Biden told the protester at the time. He also refused to apologize following a similar confrontation in June.
Biden's campaign has positioned his immigration plan as a stark contrast to President Trump, with priorities that include ending family separations at the border, rolling back Trump’s travel limits on citizens from certain Muslim-majority countries and providing a path to citizenship for about 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, including immediately shielding immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children from deportation.
While speaking in Las Vegas, Biden promised to spend "literally, a billion dollars a year" on stabilizing Central American governments and economies, a reference to his proposal to spend $4 billion in four years to help those nations.
The former vice president also pledged to enforce existing asylum law by reversing the Trump administration’s moves that have made claiming asylum extremely difficult and end the national emergency that Trump has declared to divert Pentagon funding to the construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Biden joins progressive senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, along with South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as Democratic White House hopefuls promising to close for-profit detention centers. The U.S. government contracted for such facilities under Obama, drawing criticism from civil rights groups at the time. But the practice has gained new scrutiny under Trump’s hard-line approach to immigration, especially his administration’s practice of separating families in the facilities.
Fox News' Danielle Wallace, Nick Givas, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.