Last Thursday, Vice President Biden spoke to 350 Hispanic businessmen, entrepreneurs, and community leaders at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Annual Legislative Summit.
During his speech, he spoke passionately about the need for immigration reform and thanked the Chamber for their continued leadership on this issue.
The Vice President stated, “The single most important thing we can do for our economy, for America’s future, is pass immigration reform now.”
He cited the findings of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the economic benefits of the immigration reform bill (S. 744) the Senate passed in June and similar legislation recently introduced by House Democrats. The CBO determined common-sense reform would increase our gross domestic product by $1.4 trillion and reduce the deficit by $850 billion over the next 20 years.
The Vice President offered several examples to illustrate why our current broken immigration system is damaging our economy.
He explained that under our current system, we send scientists and engineers who earn PhDs at our universities back to their home countries.
Because we turn them away, these professionals will make their next great discoveries and products abroad instead of on U.S. soil. “It makes absolutely no sense,” the Vice President said. “We should be stapling a green card to each and every one of those degrees as they walk across the stage.”
The Vice President also discussed the plight of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. These immigrants are already contributing to our economy and society and would have the opportunity to contribute more fully if they were allowed to come out of the shadows and access a path to earned citizenship. “They just want a decent life for their kids, a chance to contribute to a free society, a chance to put down roots and help build the next great American century,” the Vice President said.
The Vice President ended his remarks by urging House Republican leaders to allow a vote on immigration reform legislation. The vast majority of the American people—including many Republicans—support immigration reform. The Senate passed an immigration reform bill nine months ago by a wide bipartisan margin. Passing immigration reform, as the Vice President has said, is not only the morally right thing to do for the 11 million living in the shadows, but it is also in the overwhelming economic interest of our nation.
“So keep up the pressure,” the Vice President told the audience. “Embrace those who are with us in both parties. But tell everybody, you got to stand up. It’s not enough to say it. You got to stand up.”