Vice President Joe Biden on Monday repeated the Obama administration's demand that the U.S. House of Representatives vote on an immigration reform that would open a path to legalization for 11 million people.
President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats have spent months urging Republican House Speaker John Boehner to bring to the floor the bipartisan reform measure passed last summer by the Senate.
"It's time for John - he's a good man, John Boehner - to stand up and other Republicans to stand up," Biden said during a breakfast to mark the Cinco de Mayo holiday.
"It's time for him to stand up, ... 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," the vice president said.
He defended the appropriateness of immigration reform on both moral and economic grounds.
"To continue the dreams of all the American people, we have got to get 11 million people out of the shadows," Biden said. "It's not just to benefit those 11 million people, it's badly needed for the country. The country needs a shot in the arm and this would give it a considerable shot in the arm."
He recalled that he had been greatly criticized for saying several months ago in Florida that those 11 million undocumented foreigners are already Americans.
"They may not be citizens, but they are Americans. 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," the vice president insisted Monday. EFE