Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, was on hand at a naturalization ceremony to deliver the keynote address on Thursday November 14th. While he was there Biden revealed his disappointment over the declaration by House Speaker John Boehner that there was no chance of immigration reform legislation passing Congress in 2013.
The remarks were made by the Vice President at Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta to 104 newly naturalized citizens, together with their families. Biden also took the time to urge the immigrants who have just been given citizenship to advocate for immigration reform themselves. “Don’t pull up the ladder behind you when you come on board,” Biden noted. “There are millions of people who are already acting as decent Americans that deserve a chance, that deserve a path, to earn their way… so reach back, help as you move on, and don’t be afraid.”
Biden’s speech at the naturalization ceremony not only focused on immigration reform being a moral issue but also spoke about the social and economic benefits that are brought to the United States by immigrants, pointing out that numerous studies have demonstrated that “If those 11 million people are let out of the shadows, the GDP of the United States will grow by an additional 5.4 percent over the next five years.”
Biden’s speech came as a part of a campaign by the current White House administration to once again focus national attention on the issue.