Joe Biden on illegal immigrants: The 11 million people in the shadows are "already Americans"

Last month, Rand Paul was asked what he thought of Jeb Bush’s “act of love” comment about illegals. They’re not bad people, Paul conceded, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a limiting principle on illegal immigration. It can’t be that love for a family member who’s here or even love for America itself entitles you to violate the country’s immigration law, especially when we have a welfare state that we can’t pay for already. “You know, the whole world loves America,” he argued, “and they can’t all come.”

Can’t they? If you take Biden seriously, which, granted, is always a bad idea, the world is full of “Americans.” The only difference between those abroad and those who are here is that the latter group’s been a bit more proactive in claiming their citizenship. Or, if you prefer to think of it this way, foreign citizens are just Americans who haven’t been amnestized yet.

Emphasis on “yet.”

Vice President Joe Biden marked Cinco de Mayo, traditionally a celebration of Mexican culture, with an impassioned call for immigration overhaul…

Guests – which included the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Anthony Wayne, as well as several Hispanic lawmakers – feasted on chorizo and empanadas to the strains of a five-piece Mariachi band…

“I know I was criticized for saying, a couple months ago in Florida, that these 11 million folks in the shadows are already Americans. And I got pretty roundly criticized for that. But you know, they are Americans. They may not be citizens, but they are Americans,” Biden said.

“The definition of Teddy Roosevelt, who said, ‘Americanism is not a question of birthplace or creed, or line of descent, it’s a question of principles, idealism and character.’ And I would argue that those 11 million folks who are here, breaking their neck, working hard, they are Americans,” he added.

He got heckled over the weekend during a commencement address by someone yelling, “Stop deportations!” His reply: “We’ll do that, too, kid, but let me finish my speech.” Speaking of which, via DrewM, here’s the sort of scrupulously fair questions on deportation that House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte got when he went on Univision this weekend. Quote:

JR: But Congressman, many Latinos don’t agree with you. Many Latinos think that President Barack Obama has enforced the laws and to an extreme way. He has deported, as you know, more than 2 million immigrants right now. The number of undocumented immigrants has decreased from 12 million to 11 million. So, he has been enforcing the law.

BG: Let me make it very clear. I don’t agree with that. First of all, the President himself has acknowledged, and the Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson has acknowledged that those numbers are basically cooked. The 369,000 people that were deported last year, two-thirds, almost two-thirds of those people were apprehended at the border. And in prior administrations they would not have been counted, because they were not put through the deportation process. They were simply turned back…


JR: So you want him to deport more people. Is that…

BG: …forces in the interior of the country. They’re not being enforced.

JR: Alright, so…

BG: And that is the problem. Only people who committed serious crimes.

JR: So your point is that you want more people to be deported?

I knew that Univision was hackish and in the tank for amnesty even by the standards of American media but not until I read the transcript of the Goodlatte interview by Jorge Ramos did I really understand. The “two million deportations” figure that Ramos keeps quoting was debunked weeks ago, by the illegal-friendly LA Times no less. What Goodlatte keeps trying to explain in the quoted bit is that, per the LAT, most of those “deportations” that are showing up in the statistics aren’t deportations as they’re commonly understood. They’re removals of illegals who’ve been caught near the border; in the past those people were simply bused back over into Mexico but now they’re fingerprinted and then formally deported. That’s why Obama’s numbers are so high. Basically, he’s counting catch-and-release as traditional “deportations.” In reality, if you’re an illegal living in the interior of the U.S., you have virtually no chance of being deported so long as you don’t have a criminal record — and even if you do have one, you’ve got a decent chance of being left alone then too.

Ramos knows all of this, I assume, since it’s been big news over the past few months to anyone in media who follows immigration, but the idea that deportations have actually gone down under Obama is rather unhelpful to the cause of amnesty in Congress. So we’re left with the surreal spectacle of demanding that a congressman explain himself for the outre position of believing that American law should be enforced. Just as Biden implied, everyone everywhere is an American. How dare we impede them in “coming home”? Exit question: Did Biden quote Teddy Roosevelt fairly? Read the full passage and see what he left out.