Biden in pledge to reform law on illegals in the US
Published 05/01/2013 | 05:00
Joe Biden (pictured), the American vice-president, has declared that Hispanics had moved to the "centre of this nation's future", as he committed the White House to a major push to reform immigration.
Addressing Hispanic members of Congress, Mr Biden warned that the once-marginalised community was now too powerful to be ignored.
"Let the world know and let Republicans know . . . if you ignore the needs and concerns of the Hispanic people you will not win," he said.
With a record 36 members of Congress having a Spanish background, Mr Biden said he hoped that Republicans would join the effort to reform immigration. The party, he said, was undergoing a "rapid epiphany" in the wake of its election defeat.
President Barack Obama won 71pc of the Hispanic vote in November, compared with only 27pc for Mitt Romney.
While the majority of Hispanics in Congress are Democrats, several of the most prominent figures are members of the Republican party.
Marco Rubio, the Florida senator considered a front-runner for the party's 2016 nomination, is joined in the Senate by Ted Cruz, a Tea Party insurgent from Texas. Both are the sons of Cuban immigrants.
Mr Rubio has been among a growing number of conservatives calling for the Republican party to take a new approach toward the Hispanic community, embrace immigration reform and abandon anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Mr Obama has said that "fixing the immigration system is a top priority" and that he aims to pass laws within a year that would mark out a path to citizenship for the country's 11 million undocumented workers.
In recent months, Mr Obama has used executive powers to ease restrictions for illegal immigrants without the need to pass new laws through Congress.
This week, the department of homeland security announced that undocumented workers trying to normalise their status would be able to apply for a visa within the US.
Previously, they were forced to return to their home countries to apply, often meaning months or even years of separation from their families.
Mr Obama announced in June that his administration would stop deporting young people who had been brought to the US illegally by their parents as children.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is "raring to go" and will return to work at the state department next week, according to a spokesman. The US secretary of state has been out of the public eye for three weeks while being treated for a blood clot between her brain and skull. (© Daily Telegraph, London)