Biden urges final push on immigration reform
June 20th, 2013
12:25 PM ET
1 year ago

Biden urges final push on immigration reform

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden blasted House Republicans Thursday for voting to end deferred deportations of young, undocumented immigrants and offered an impassioned plea for immigration reform as the Senate takes action on the bill in the coming days.

"We have nothing to apologize for when we fight for the morally right thing," Biden said forcefully at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington. "It is a practically, economically sound thing for America to do."

"The last 10 yards are by far the hardest," he also said, signaling the country is close to reaching reform. "They really are. This is the tough, tough time."

While the Senate appears to be on the heels of voting for a bipartisan measure that offers a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has made it clear that an immigration bill will have a rocky future in their hands.

Conservative Republicans are strongly pushing for provisions in the bill that will ensure tougher border security rules are met before immigrants can pursue legal pathways. A group of senators reached an agreement Wednesday night on an amendment that would significantly boost the number of border troops.

"The entire effort of immigration reform hinges on whether or not we get the border security parts of the bill right, and if you look at what's being proposed here this is a dramatic expansion an improvement on border security," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said Thursday on Fox News.

But House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday he doesn't "see any way" of bringing a bill to the floor that doesn't already have support from a majority of Republicans.

In his animated, nearly half-hour long speech Thursday, Biden acknowledged every country "has a right to defend its borders," calling it "essential."

"But it's time we pass fair–firm but fair–reforms to bring these 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows," he argued.

Biden grew most heated when talking about the House Republicans' vote two weeks ago to end President Barack Obama's decision that allows some undocumented immigrants to put off deportation for two years, if they meet certain requirements.

The measure was sponsored by Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who has long voiced fierce opposition to illegal immigration. While the bill had big support from Republicans, the measure has no chance of going anywhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

But Biden argued the vote was a symbolic gesture that cuts at the heart of the American spirit. The young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. when they were young would be sent back to places "they've never seen" and where they may not speak the native language or dialect, Biden said. "What do (Republicans) think?"

King and other Republicans, Biden said, fail to understand that "these aren't just Hispanic children."

"These are our children, the kite strings which lift our national ambitions aloft. That's who they are," Biden said to strong applause. "Many of these same representatives talk about their Christianity and their fidelity to the Bible, but they forget Matthew Chapter 25, Verse 34, where scripture teaches us: 'I was hungry, you gave me food. I was thirsty, you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me'."

– CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Immigration • Joe Biden
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Ola Coola

    This immigration bill is very unfair to those who came into USA legally and provided all necessary documents for immigration. That very procedure must be followed. "Deport & Reapply" is the beat immigration policy. this immigration bill encourages illegal immigrants to come here as illegal aliens. Stop this bill.

    June 20, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    Conservative Republicans are strongly pushing for provisions in the bill that will ensure tougher border security rules are met before immigrants can pursue legal pathways.
    --------------------
    Too bad the right wing cannot come up with some objective, qualitative means to measure border security. Until they come up a set of metrics that actually works, they need to shut up about "nothing goes forward until we secure our borders."

    It's like saying, "We're not going forward with this bill until we can develop a space warp drive." They cannot tell us how to measure it, but they want absolute guarantee that not even a single ant can cross the border.

    June 20, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. rs

    This is an interesting shift in the game. It would appear the Vice President of the United States, is placing the GOP of both the Senate and especially the Hosue in a position of having to go on record to defeat a bill that both sides have worked on at a time when the GOP really, really needs to attract Hispanic and minority voters. Tha ante goes up inasmuch as the CBO calls the Immigration bill a money saver.
    So, will the GOP go on record as being anti-immigrant, appeasing their radical base, and more or less vote against its' best interests and to uphold their record of do-nothing (and presumably attempt to snub the President of the United States one more time) or will they actually do the principled thing and both vote on the bill, and actually attempt to fix the problem?
    One may hope, but the GOP is so long now disfucntional that it is too easy to predict they will continue their suicide mission.

    June 20, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Ola Coola

    This immigration bill is very unfair to those who came into USA legally and provided all necessary documents for immigration. That very procedure must be followed. "Deport & Reapply" is the beat immigration policy. this immigration bill encourages illegal immigrants to come here as illegal aliens. Stop this bill.
    ------------------
    You have no idea how to do that, do you? You have no idea how much it would cost to chase down 11 million people and deport them, to where? Mexico? Mexico is not taking them when so many of them are coming from rural areas of Honduras, Guatemala, Columbia, and other countries south of Mexico.

    But, it sounds real good to say it, though. Doesn't it?

    June 20, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    ""Deport & Reapply" is the beat immigration policy."

    I guess we'll have to send Senator Ted Cruz back to Cuba then, since his father bribed his way into our country rather than coming here legitimately.

    June 20, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Dead on arrival.

    The Senate trash cans the House bills......so the House can return the favor.

    June 20, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    For the same reason they hate any and everybody that is not melanin challenged.......

    Even within their own party......

    June 20, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. California attorney

    A better question is why the senate and house seem to hate Americans?? There should not even be an immigration reform bill being discussed. We have laws in place. Enforce them! And 11 million illegals CAN be deported. Does not have to happen in one day. But the border MUST be secured and apparently can be per both parties comments coming out of the senate.

    June 20, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |