Biden: Amnesty for Illegals Is ‘Granting Them the Dignity and Respect They Deserve’

By Penny Starr | May 9, 2013 | 10:27am EDT

Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the 43rd annual Washington Conference on the Americas on May 8, 2013 in Washington, D.C. ( Starr)

( – Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that passing an immigration reform law that would give the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally a pathway to citizenship would be “granting them the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Speaking at the Conference on the Americas on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Biden told attendees from countries throughout the Western Hemisphere that every nation has to make “tough choices.”

“In the United States, it means reforming our immigration system and 11 million undocumented men, women and children being able to come out of the shadows and be full participants in American life,” Biden said. “Imagine that - the dignity.

“My father would say, ‘it’s all about dignity,” Biden said. “Granting them the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Biden said not doing so would be disrespectful to the people living throughout the Americas.

“Because not doing that, it’s hard to make the case in my view, to six hundred million people in the hemisphere, that we genuinely respect you all,” Biden said. “When we do not show respect for 11 million people here in America who hail from the very countries we talk about respecting.

“I don’t know how that’s done,” Biden said. “I don’t know how that’s done.

“That’s why we’re absolutely committed to genuine immigration reform,” he added.

The theme of the 43rd annual conference was “The United States and the Hemisphere: Opportunity and Growth,” and featured other officials from the Obama administration as well as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who spoke about the rule of law.

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