(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden appeared to embrace some protesters Thursday who loudly criticized the Obama administration's record of deportations.
About 20 minutes into his speech at the progressive Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, Biden was interrupted by demonstrators in the audience who repeatedly chanted “Stop deporting our families.”
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He paused to try to hear what they were saying, then nodded once he seemed to understand their chants.
"Let's take this one issue at a time, OK?" he said, pausing again. "I respect your view and I share your view, but let me take these issues one–"
He paused again, as the protesters continued to chant and some in the audience applauded in solidarity.
“We should clap for those young people, because if you were a member of a family,” Biden said before cutting himself off, “we should clap for them.”
Biden then briefly joined the audience in applause.
“Can you imagine the pain, the anxiety of coming home every day wondering whether or not your mother or father will still be there?" he said. "Can you imagine what it must feel like?”
Biden said "there's so much unfinished business" but pointed to the ballot box as the best way to "deal with the concern of those young people," as well as other rights that he says are at risk.
"Every country has to control its borders. We need a rational policy," he said, adding that immigrants "fuel America's dynamism."
President Barack Obama has directed his administration to reexamine its deportation policy after facing rising criticism from activists over the more-than two million undocumented immigrants who've been deported since he became president.
Obama encountered protests during a speech he gave in Austin last week. He said he would meet with the men who shouted at him afterward.
Biden, who's considering a presidential run and lags far behind Hillary Clinton in 2016 polls, used Thursday's speech to highlight his own stance on a number of issues important to progressives.
He outlined his push for an increase in the minimum wage, his support for the Affordable Care Act, and his role in helping negotiate a higher income tax rate on the nation's top income earners.