A rediscovered video from 2006 shows then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., pushing for illegal immigrants to learn English as a condition for legal status because, in Biden's words, nations with two accepted languages don't do "all too well."
"The Democratic position recognizes you got 11 million illegal aliens here. They have to have a way to earn their way into the deal. This isn't amnesty. They're required to take 11 years work, they pay a fine, they gotta learn to speak English, they gotta pass tests," he told MSNBC host Chris Matthews while discussing a proposed immigration reform compromise.
Matthews seemed to agree with the language requirement — saying that immigrants speaking English would "unite" the country and prevent the U.S. from becoming like Canada, where many residents speak both English and French.
"I can't think of a country," Biden responded, "that has two languages as their accepted languages that is doing all that well, including Switzerland and/or Canada."
Matthews responded by remarking that having two accepted languages "divides us."
"And you can't talk to each other," the host added.
The video came to light as Biden launches his challenge against Trump, who earlier this month proposed a policy requiring future immigrants to learn English. The plan has been criticized by congressional Democrats, who have called it xenophobic.
Another video that emerged earlier this month shows Biden pushing for a border fence and criminal punishment for "illegals."
"Folks, I voted for a fence, I voted, and unlike most Democrats — and some of you won't like it — I voted for 700 miles of fence," he said.
When Biden's spokesman Andrew Bates defended those comments, he said the former vice president opposed some of Trump's tactics and believed in maintaining the nation's "values."
"He believes that we can secure our borders without abandoning our values, and that we should do that by addressing the root causes of immigration abroad and working toward comprehensive immigration reform at home, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and smart border security," Bates said. "He also believes that the Trump Administration's approach to immigration, including its crackdown on sanctuary cities and especially its repugnant treatment of migrant children, is contrary to our values as a nation."
During Biden's 2006 interview with Matthews, he said that the U.S. should engage in practices that Matthews outlined as ways to punish employers.
"Can you scare an employer in this country … into not hiring an illegal because the punishment's so high that if you get caught, it's a huge embarrassment to your family, and you may just get hit with a fine that'll kill you?" Matthews asked.
"You can, and that's what we should do," Biden responded. "I think we should do that,"
Biden has also come under fire from Republicans for saying that illegal immigrants should have access to taxpayer-funded health care.
“Look, I think that anyone who is in a situation where they are in need of health care, regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented, we have an obligation to see that they are cared for,” he said.