Cinco de Mayo: Biden Pushes Amnesty, Walks Back Calling Illegals 'Citizens'

Cinco de Mayo: Biden Pushes Amnesty, Walks Back Calling Illegals 'Citizens'

At a Cinco de Mayo event at the Naval Observatory on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden pressed for amnesty legislation and slightly walked back comments he had previously made that all of the country’s illegal immigrants were already American citizens. 

Two days after perhaps inadvertently revealing the Obama administration’s plans to stop even more deportations, Biden called on House Republicans to pass comprehensive immigration reform and said the administration would “redouble our efforts” to get it done. 

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,” Biden said, according to pool reports. 

Biden added:

We’ve already stood up. We’ve been right there. We stood up. 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.

After arguing that amnesty legislation would give the U.S. economy a “shot in the arm,” even though the Congressional Budget Office has calculated that it would lower the wages of American workers, Biden said all of the country’s illegal immigrants were already Americans. This time, however, he did not say that illegal immigrants were already “citizens,” as he had previously done.

“And I know I was criticized for saying a couple of months ago in Florida that these 11 million folks in the shadows are already Americans, and I got pretty roundly criticized for that. But they are Americans. They may not be citizens, but they are Americans,” he said. 

He continued:

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.

In March, Biden said, “You know, eleven million people live in the shadows. I believe they’re already American citizens.” 

On Monday, Biden also said he believed Americans share “so much more in common with Mexico than just a border.”

“We share values, a common history, and I think common dreams,” Biden claimed. 

According to pool reports, those in attendance included: Secretary of Labor Tom Perez; Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Eduardo Medina-Mora; U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne; Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL); Javier Palomarez, the President & CEO USHCC; Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA; White House Domestic Policy Council’s Cecilia Muñoz; and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA). 

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