Vice President Joe Biden told a Cinco de Mayo breakfast this morning that passing immigration reform would be a “shot in the arm” for the country.
Guests at the Naval Observatory, including members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, national Hispanic leaders, Hispanic members of the media and administration officials, listened to a five-piece mariachi and feasted on a buffet of chorizo casserole and papas fritas before Biden stood to deliver a few words.
“The message is simple. We don’t have to redouble our efforts. We have to redouble or demand” that the House take up the immigration reform bill passed in the Senate, said Biden, according to the White House pool report.
“And it’s time for John — he’s a good man, John Boehner — to stand up and other Republicans to stand up. Not for us to stand up. We’ve already stood up. We’ve been right there. We stood up,” he continued. “It’s time for him to stand up, stand up and not let the minority — I think it’s a minority — of the Republican Party in the House keep us from moving in a way that will change the circumstances for millions and millions of lives.”
Biden said that “to continue the dreams of all the American people, we have got to get 11 million people out of the shadows.”
“It’s not just to benefit those 11 million people, it’s badly needed for the country. The country needs a shot in the arm and this would give it a considerable shot in the arm.”
The vice president referenced when he was “roundly criticized” earlier this year for saying “these 11 million folks in the shadows are already Americans.”
“But they are Americans. They may not be citizens, but they are Americans. In the definition of Teddy Roosevelt, he said Americanism is not a question of birthplace or creed or line of descent, it’s a question of principles, idealism, and character. And I would argue that those 11 million folks who have been here breaking their neck, working hard, they are Americans.”
He said the economic benefits of such a bill “are the exact opposite of what the right has been preaching, what the nativists have been preaching for a long time. They are not necessarily one in the same, I want to make clear.”
Biden said America has gotten the best of the best “sort of self-selected” over its history of immigrants.
“What we’ve gotten over the last 230 years, is we’ve gotten people who already posses in their DNA the sense of courage and optimism and movement,” he said. “That’s exactly what the hell we are. That’s who we are.”
“We share so much more in common with Mexico than just a border,” Biden added. “We share values, a common history, and I think common dreams.”