National Public Radio presidential debate

Number two, as a single parent for five years after my wife and daughter were killed, raising two kids, I went through, out of necessity, trying to figure out how to get a nanny to help me out. Thank God I had my sister and my mother, but I went through that, to try to relieve them. Guess what? Most of the illegals that came to seek a job with me, they did not speak Spanish. They were from Ireland, England. They were from Germany. They were from Poland. The majority of the people here undocumented — 60% — are not Spanish speaking. They've overstayed their visas. And —

MR. INSKEEP: Question from our colleague — from our colleague, Robert Siegel.

MR. SIEGEL: You used the same figure at the Brown and Black Forum on Saturday, but the Pew Research Center has estimated this, that in fact 56% of the illegal immigrants are from Mexico and 22% from other Latin American countries. Aren't the vast majority of the people here, in fact, Spanish speakers?

SEN. DODD: They are.

SEN. BIDEN: Well, Chris tells me they are. The data I received was that the total amount of people who are here undocumented and the people overstaying their visas were people who are not from Latin America.

Chris knows more about this than anybody here —

SEN. DODD: I think — I think both of you are right. A few statistics, I think more recent arrivals — and that number is higher coming from Latin America. Overall, Joe's point, the people going back years here, would include a larger number coming from non-Latin American countries. So both numbers may have — may be accurate; just depends how you frame it.

SEN. BIDEN: But the point is — the idea here is — and it seems to me there's an obligation on the part of an employer who is seeking someone to work for him or her to know whether or not that opportunity is being given first to an American before they hire someone here who is legal or illegal — I mean, excuse me, who is illegal.

MR. INSKEEP: Just a yes-or-no question before we go on, Senator. Those Irish people and others, illegal immigrants, you interviewed, did you hire one?

SEN. BIDEN: Did not hire one, absolutely not.

MR. INSKEEP: You found someone legal?

SEN. BIDEN: I found — I didn't — I didn't find anyone. I thank God for my sister.

And by the way, you may remember, I'm the guy that reminded the former administration that Zoe Baird was a little bit of a problem, if you may remember.

MR. INSKEEP: Let me move on to Senator Edwards, if I might. Senator Edwards, in a recent debate you said, as I'm sure you've said many times, that illegal workers are exploited, that they're paid less, if they try to report problems they're asked about their immigration status. But you have also said that you do not believe that illegal immigration is driving down wages. If they're being paid less, how can they not be driving down wages?

MR. EDWARDS: What I've actually said is there have been some serious academic studies done on this question and the studies are not the same. They have not reached the same conclusions. I think that — that there is — there is some confusion in the work that's been done, the research that's been done on this question.

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