Biden: Don't 'buy into cynicism' immigration reform is dead


Supporters of immigration reform should reject the notion that a legislative effort is ultimately doomed, Vice President Biden implored at a White House celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month on Tuesday.

"I have one plea for you all," Biden said. "Please, please, please do not buy into the cynicism that there's an inevitability we will not get immigration reform. Please reject that notion."

Biden said those who favored immigration reform must "not ask, but demand" that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) press forward with legislation.

"He and probably a large minority of his caucus want to stand up and get something done. Tell them: Let them vote. Let them vote," Biden said.

The vice president's plea came a day after both he and President Obama used Cinco de Mayo to call for House Republicans to move ahead with immigration reform. 

Democrats are hopeful that the GOP might be more willing to advance immigration reform legislation after the Republican primary season ends, when many incumbent lawmakers are facing Tea Party challenges from the right.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has called the legislation a priority, and last month made headlines when he mocked conservative members of his caucus who have opposed the legislation. Boehner also raised eyebrows when he told a closed-door meeting with donors he was "hell-bent" on advancing legislation. 

But last week, Boehner insisted he was only teasing his colleagues, and there was no plan to move forward on a comprehensive immigration deal. Boehner told reporters that members of his caucus were wary of President Obama, skeptical he would enforce border security and accountability provisions of the bill.

On Tuesday, Biden heralded "a constant, unrelenting stream of immigrants in large numbers" as integral to the success of the United States. 

"It's the reason why we are so vibrant. It's the reason why we are so strong," Biden said. "And folks, that is not hyperbole."

The vice president said that, unlike China and Japan, the U.S. has "people from every corner of the globe fighting for a chance to contribute to this great country."

"I think you all, and all American people, and all immigrant groups vastly underestimate the significance of how immigration built and continues to build the country," Biden said. "It is not a burden. It is a blessing."

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