A senior staffer in charge of outreach to Latino voters quit former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign last week, and her friends say she was frustrated with a lack of compassion in the way Biden addressed immigration issues, according to Politico.
Vanessa Cardenas, the most senior Latina staffer on the campaign, had been the national coalitions director on the campaign since it began in April.
A friend of Cardenas told Politico that the Biden campaign was too focused on white and black voters while neglecting Hispanic outreach efforts — a problem exacerbated by Biden's history and current rhetoric on immigration.
"Vanessa kept banging her head against the wall trying to get them to take the community more seriously," one friend told Politico. "And Biden just really won't change when it comes to the way he talks about immigration. It became too much."
As the Democratic Party has moved left on immigration, Biden has mostly remained where he has been since the Obama administration; an administration that has come under fire for the number of detained immigrant children and deportations that occurred in those years.
While Biden's competitors advocate for decriminalizing illegal border crossings and ending all deportations, Biden has been reluctant to move left on the issue. When challenged by a South Carolina immigration activist last week about his refusal to pause deportations, he dismissed the complaint by telling the activist to vote for President Donald Trump.
"What happened last week was a perfect example of what Vanessa was dealing with," a second friend of Cardenas told Politico. "Biden just refuses to talk about the issue in a compassionate way."
Biden has good reason for not changing his stances, however. He has remained a double-digit front-runner in most national primary polls, and his support among Hispanics is at or near the top of the field.