Vice President Joe Biden gave an impassioned defense of comprehensive immigration reform — and the undocumented immigrants it would help — during a speech on Thursday, saying it would boost the economy and improve foreign relations.

Speaking at a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event, Biden said undocumented immigrants should be given the chance to become citizens and contribute to the country.

“These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to be able to contribute fully,” he said. “And by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans, in my view. They just want a decent life for their kids and a chance to contribute to a free society, a chance to put down roots and help build the next great American century. I really believe that. That’s what they’re fighting for.”