Vice President Joe Biden said some of his ancestors entered the United States illegally, and suggested a woman who had a critical question about the Obama-administration backed immigration reform legislation check her ancestry as well.
“My parents, my great grandparents, my great-great grandparents came to escape the famine and they didn't all come here legally,” Biden said. “They didn't all come legally. So listen, the existence of the system wasn't as nearly as truncated as it is now. A lot went to Canada. Came down. So, I'd check your ancestry to make sure they did come in legally, if that's a concern to you.”
The vice president and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Cecile Munoz conducted a White House question and answer on Skype Wednesday in which
Vice President Joe Biden addresses the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Centennial Celebration luncheon in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) AP Photo/Cliff Owen
Obama and most Democrats support a bill that passed the Senate this summer to grant what supporters of the bill call “pathway to citizenship “for the country's 11 million and what opponents of the bill call “amnesty.” The comprehensive bill that passed on a bipartisan vote in the Senate includes border security measures. However, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House likely would only pass smaller separate bills.
During the forum, a woman named Melissa Mullins was given the chance to ask a question.
“My ancestors escaped Ireland to escape the potato famine and from Italy to escape Mussolini's rule. They did it legally. With the influx of immigration and the out of control deficit, what do you say to legal immigrants when they see others taking advantage of other benefits such as health care, education and tuition assistance meant for American citizens.
Biden answered that they would not qualify for health care, but said nothing about the other benefits.
“By the way, my parents, my great grandparents, my great-great grandparents came to escape the famine and they didn't all come here legally,” Biden said. “They didn't all come legally. So listen, the existence of the system wasn't as nearly as truncated as it is now. A lot went to Canada. Came down. So, I'd check your ancestry to make sure they did come in legally, if that's a concern to you.”
He continued on the point about benefits.
“The other piece here is that there is this misnomer that somehow, with us moving toward this immigration reform, and pathway to citizenship, that all of a sudden 11 million folks in the shadows now are going to be able to qualify for all these government programs,” Biden said. “They will not qualify. By the way, when they are in the system, identifiable and everyone knows they are on this pathway, it's easier to determine they don't qualify. It's easier to determine they will not get the benefits.”
Earlier during the forum, Crystal Wright, blogger of ConservativeBlackChick.com, asked why is it fair to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.
“They're not being granted amnesty. They have to earn it,” Biden responded. “They have to go to the back of the line, pay taxes and have a background check. So we don't concede it's amnesty.”
Biden added, “You don't sound that conservative to me.”
Shortly after, Wright tweeted, “I enjoyed asking my immigration question of @JoeBiden but I'm very much a conservative. Back of the line is back home not staying here.”