Biden Tells Trinidad and Tobago: '11 Million Undocumented' in U.S. 'Required to Constantly Live in Fear'

By Terence P. Jeffrey | May 28, 2013 | 11:03 PM EDT


Vice President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, May 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Anthony Harris)

( - Speaking in Port-of-Spain in Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, where he signed a trade agreement with a group of Caribbean nations, Vice President Joe Biden said that 11 million illegal aliens who have chosen to live in the United States "are required to constantly live in fear."

"Do we respect one another? And do we show respect?" said Biden.

The vice president then suggested the United States could show respect to the nations in the Caribbean and, presumably, to nations in other regions of the world, by making "full participants" in U.S. life people who have fled those nations to live by choice in the United States in violation of U.S. immigration laws.

"For my country, that means reforming our immigration system so the 11 million undocumented men, women and many children, who came through no choice of their own, can come out of the shadows and be full participants in American life because they are already in many cases participating and contributing to the growth and prosperity of my country, but required to constantly live in fear and live in the shadows," said Biden.

"It’s about time, and the president and I have been calling for this for a long time, even back in the days when he was a senator and I was in the Senate, it’s about time they're afforded the dignity they deserve," said Biden.

"And respecting your people who are living in my country is part of how we will show respect for you and for quite frankly all of the Americas," said Biden. "But it’s not just 11 million people in the shadows from the Americas. They're from all over the world. They're from Ireland. They're from Japan. They're from Africa. And it’s about time. It’s about time we reform the system and afford them the dignity they deserve."

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