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Biden: 'I Have Great Relationships' With Somalis Because an 'Awful Lot of Them' Drive Cabs

“We are a nation of immigrants."

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks on voting rights at the NAACP annual convention in Las Vegas. Vice President Joe Biden is going to get a firsthand look at work done at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard before another possible round of base closings, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 (AP Photo/John Locher, File) AP Photo/John Locher, File

Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday he has a great relationship with Delaware's Somali population, based on the number of cab drivers he knows.

"If you ever come to the train station with me, you'll notice that I have great relationships with them because there's an awful lot of them driving cabs and are friends of mine. For real," Biden said when he opened the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, speaking to community leaders from larger metropolitan cities in the United States and from Europe. "In Minneapolis–Saint Paul, we're working to build relationships with the East African immigrants who have made your city their home. As the same folks, Somalis, who have made made my city of Wilmington, Delaware, [their home] on a smaller scale."

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks on voting rights at the NAACP annual convention in Las Vegas. Vice President Joe Biden is going to get a firsthand look at work done at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard before another possible round of base closings, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 (AP Photo/John Locher, File) AP Photo/John Locher, File (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Biden made the point during the conference that that America’s tradition of assimilating immigrants, which has made the country better able to avoid the terror attacks than Europe.

”I am not suggesting that America has all of the answers here; we are just a lot more experienced,” Biden said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, near the White House. “We are a nation of immigrants and our strength is that we are a melting pot.”

Already this year, Islamic extremists have carried out attacks in Paris and Copenhagen.

The first day of a three-day White House summit included about 45 community leaders from Los Angeles, Boston and Minneapolis-Saint Paul – cities that have been doing pilot programs to prevent terrorism. Also present were Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam, Netherlands and Mayor Hans Bonte of Vilvoorde, Belgium, according to the White House press pool report.

Biden’s comments Monday were similar to what President Barack Obama said last month during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“Our Muslim populations, they feel themselves to be Americans, and there is this incredible process of immigration and assimilation that is part of our tradition that is probably our greatest strength,” Obama said in January.

On Tuesday, during his remarks to open up the summit, Biden said he had private meetings with European leaders earlier in the day. On Wednesday and Thursday, 70 countries will be joining the conference.

“I just had a chance to meet with the European Council, the European parliament etcetera and the topic of discussion in our closed meetings was about what is to be done in Europe now,” said Biden. “They are asking what we have done.”

“I know from my discussions in Belgium, all of Europe is trying to figure this out,” he added. “There has been a significant amount of immigration into Europe from all over the world; it is a newer phenomenon.”

H/T Business Insider

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