Vice President Joseph R. Biden said Wednesday that the Obama administration isn't pandering to Hispanic voters with its push for immigration reform amid a surge of illegal immigrants.
"It's not about constituencies," Mr. Biden told an audience of young progressives in Washington. "It's about the history of the journey of America. The constant, unrelenting stream of immigrants … has made us different."
With America's Hispanic population growing fast, President Obama and other top Democrats have warned from time to time that the Republican Party is risking permanent minority status for opposing comprehensive immigration reform.
Mr. Biden said immigration reform is a priority because it will result in "dignity" for all Americans.
"It's long past time for immigration reform," he said. "It is such an overwhelming reason why America is what it is today."
Sounding more like a candidate for 2016, Mr. Biden also said he has been "at the center" of fighting for liberal causes for his entire political career.
"I make absolutely no apologies for my passion," the vice president said. "I've been at the center of most progressive battles for a long, long time. From the civil rights movement to Vietnam … to the right to choose. I have no problem for saying exactly what I feel and what I believe. What you may not know is, I think long and hard about what I say."
Mr. Biden, known for his verbal gaffes, then told the young liberals, "I need you."
"I need you. We need you. The country needs you," he said. "You underestimate your power."
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