Immigration was extolled as being vital to American innovation by US vice-president Joe Biden at a South Florida graduation ceremony on Saturday. The graduates from Miami Dade College and their families, numbering around 2,000 in total, opened the program by entering the gym and Biden acknowledged that many of his audience were immigrants or the grandchildren and children of immigrants, many from the Caribbean and South America.
A “constant, substantial stream of immigrants” is of great importance to the US economy, said Biden, who also wants to see undocumented immigrants currently living illegally in the country given the chance to gain citizenship. “That’s why we have to act to bring 11 million people out of the shadows and put them on a path to citizenship. These people are already Americans.”
Biden praised the Florida Legislature for passing a bill on Friday enabling students who are living illegally in the United States to pay in-state tuition at universities and public colleges. There are now 20 states that have enacted this measure, which marks a major transition in Florida’s immigration debate away from immigration enforcement. “More than half of you speak a language other than English at home, but you speak the language of America,” Biden noted.
Biden had a private meeting after the ceremony with local Caribbean-American business leaders in order to talk about immigration issues and later attended the new campaign office of Representative Joe Garcia.