Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) showed his support Tuesday for the bipartisan immigration reform bill that the Senate is beginning to debate by doing something rather unusual for the chamber: he gave a speech entirely in Spanish.

Kaine, a freshman senator, dusted off the Spanish he learned as a teacher in Honduras to make his speech, just before his colleagues voted to begin formal debate on the reform proposal.

"I believe it appropriate to explain the content of this law in Spanish, a language spoken in this country since Spanish missionaries founded St. Augustine in Florida in 1565," Kaine said.

"I hope we send a strong message to the world that we are a country of laws, but also of justice," Kaine said.

But above all, he said, the reform is about the future of people like Isabel Castillo of Harrisonburg, Virginia, "who came to the United States when she was 6 years old with her parents and did everything right: she studied at school and graduated from college Magna Cum Laude," but now "she can't work legally."

In order to speak in Spanish, Kaine had to request and receive unanimous permission from the lawmakers present.

This is not the first time a legislator has spoked Spanish in the Senate. In 2005, Republicans James Inhofe and Mel Martinez gave part of their speeches in Spanish to support the nomination of the Hispanic Alberto Gonzales as U.S. attorney general. EFE