(WASHINGTON) — Speaking at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ gala Wednesday night, Vice President Joe Biden said he hopes immigration reform will be reached by summer’s end.
“As my grandpop would say, with the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbors, Congress will show the wisdom to pass the bipartisan immigration bill by the end of the summer, and I’m optimistic,” Biden said at the gala at the Washington Hilton.
“What are we about as a country? We are all about possibilities. That to me is the defining feature of America. Its about possibilities. The same possibilities that brought my family and your families here in the first place but that means not only dealing with the millions of people who are undocumented in this country, including 1.2 million Asians, it means fixing and modernizing our legal immigration system,” he said.
The APAICS’ gala honored former Sen. Daniel Inouye, who the vice president praised for a good portion of his speech.
“The incredible thing about Danny was he came through his experiences more empathetic, more committed, more determined to help people,” Biden said. “Everybody in America now knows the physical courage of Danny is legendary but I’ve got to tell you, the more impressive thing to me if that’s possible is his moral courage. Danny had a more fulsome embrace of life with one arm than any man or woman I’ve ever met with two arms.”
“As Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, you fought not only for equal treatment for Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. The work Danny and so many of his generations did among all of you paved the way for everyone but you know the job’s still not over,” he said.
Biden walked on stage with Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., who introduced the vice president before he spoke. She noted that he has served with every Asian Pacific Islander senator in history and played off of one of the vice president’s infamous gaffes as she introduced him.
“I think I speak for all of us when I say that your presence here is a big flippin’ deal,” Chu said to cheers and applause as the VP laughed.
“Thank you…for that generous and unfortunately sometimes accurate introduction. Thank God my mom wasn’t alive as that microphone picked up… Oh gosh! Beware of microphones,” Biden said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Kevin Liptak, CNN
Brian Stelter, CNN