Biden: Republicans had 'epiphany' on immigration
Hispanic lawmakers pose for a photo with Vice President Joe Biden at an event for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
January 3rd, 2013
09:42 PM ET
10 years ago

Biden: Republicans had 'epiphany' on immigration

Washington (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden said Republicans have had a major realization in their approach to immigration reform in recent weeks.

"Have you ever seen a time when Republicans have had a more rapid epiphany about immigration than they have this last election?" Biden said Thursday while speaking at an event for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington.

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His comments came nearly two months after President Barack Obama won 71% of the Latino vote, while Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took 27%. According to exit polls, 10% of the 2012 electorate was Hispanic, marking the first time the voting bloc reached a double-digit figure. In 2008, they represented 9% of the electorate.

In the weeks that followed, many in the GOP took to the airwaves and argued that the party needed to change its messaging and outreach to Latinos, including its approach on immigration.

Biden pointed to Obama's directive last year that allowed certain people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16 to apply for a two-year deferral of deportation. The policy was announced in June and went into effect in August.

Despite some sharp Republican opposition to Obama's immigration shift at the time, Biden argued that "there was no blowback" among the general public.

"It's finally happened," Biden said. "The American people have begun to understand not only the great contributions made, but the awesome potential, future potential of the Hispanic community."

"You're the center of this nation's future," he later added.

His comments came on the first day of the 113th Congress, which includes 31 Latinos in the freshman class for both chambers. At the event Thursday evening, Biden led a ceremonial swearing-in for Hispanic lawmakers.

The vice president, who has not squashed speculation that he may run for president in 2016, stressed that in order "to make sure there is no going back," Hispanics should tell Republicans "that if you ignore the needs and concerns of the Hispanic people, you will not win. You will not win."

- CNN's Greg Clary contributed to this report.

Filed under: Joe Biden • Latinos
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Name lynn

    them immigrations is nothing compaired to them republicans and them white house leaders they has a right to be in the united states of america they want a chance to start a new life an make money

    January 3, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  2. DENNA

    LOL Hispanics and Gays are the new BFFs for the GOP. It seems they still don't get it. Forget your freakin' base. Try to appeal to Americans in general. THAT is how President Obama got elected – both times. He bothers to talk to everyone instead of playing favorites.

    January 3, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  3. ktrantingredhead

    HA! Their epiphany should have been, "Wait, we say we want a smaller, less powerful, less invasive government....but if we limit immigration it would mean making the government bigger (more officers), more powerful (more training, weapons, and privileges), and more invasive (show me your papers).....CRAP!"

    January 3, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  4. wigglwagon

    Why does the Democratic Party hate American workers?

    January 4, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  5. Getoverit

    Good thing old Uncle Joe has advisers. He learned a new word today.

    January 4, 2013 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  6. Gurgyl

    Did you ever go out and see as to how many India guys are coming into this nation not going back??? Breaking our laws, abusing this system. Political greed and corruption needs to stop–think of on coming generation in USA. God bless.

    January 4, 2013 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  7. James Bond

    Let the pandering begin

    January 4, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |