Vilsack touts immigration reform at LULAC

Superman is a hero -- an undocumented one at that.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack delivered a little humor to a luncheon crowd during the third day of the national LULAC conference at Caesar’s Palace on Wednesday.

Touting comprehensive immigration reform, the former Iowa governor was referencing this summer’s blockbuster movie, Man of Steel.

“He was an undocumented hero from outer space, and look what he did: He saved the planet,” Vilsack, 62, said to the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Vilsack, raised in a Catholic orphanage outside of Pittsburgh, told the predominantly Latino crowd that America is a country where people can achieve their dreams if they put their minds to it.

Comprehensive immigration reform will increase their odds and help strengthen the economy by adding nearly 12 million undocumented workers to the tax rolls, he said.

“It’s a pro-growth and pro-jobs bill,” Vilsack said, adding that its passage would strengthen the Social Security program and reduce the national deficit by $170 billion in its first year.

“And make no mistake,” he said. “We’re going to secure the border.”

Vilsack, in a brief question and answer session after his speech, said Nevada’s new Driver Authorization Card is the direct result of a state operating on its own behalf, something unnecessary if undocumented workers become legal residents.

“We wouldn’t be having these sorts of debates,” he said.

Vilsack was just the latest political heavyweight to attend the LULAC convention. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to speak Thursday night at Caesar’s Palace and Friday morning at Mandalay Bay, where Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is also expected to say a few words.

Contact reporter Tom Ragan at tragan@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5512.