Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday immigrating to the United States often leads to "the American dream," proclaiming his grandfather's arrival on Ellis Island nearly 100 years ago paved the way for him to be the nation's No. 2 executive.
Pence was speaking during a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Washington, D.C., when he broached the subject of immigration. He provided the example of his grandfather, whose mother sent him from Ireland to resettle in the United States.
"She told my grandfather, 'you have to go to America because there's a future there for you,'" Pence recalled.
Pence's grandfather arrived in the United States on April 11, 1923.
"That's how Michael Richard Pence became vice president of the United States of America," Pence said.
"My grandfather's story, my mom's story, my story are just like the stories of many of you who are gathered here today. And I know that. It's just the story of the American dream."
Pence noted if his grandfather, who died in 1980, was watching him, he would be "very surprised. Because he knew me pretty well [laughs]. . . . and secondly, I'll bet he's come to the conclusion that he was right about America. He was right to come. He was right to believe that anybody can be anybody in this land of freedom and opportunity."
During his remarks, Pence also mentioned Puerto Rico as the U.S. territory in the Caribbean Sea continues to recover from the devastation left behind by Hurricane Maria last month.
"I must tell you, we were deeply moved by the resilience and the faith that we saw by the people down in Puerto Rico," Pence said, referencing a visit to the island he and his wife made last week.
"We know the people of Puerto Rico will recover, and we will be with them every step of the way."
Pence closed his speech by praising the "light of faith" that is constantly burning within the Hispanic community.
"The best days for the Hispanic-American community are yet to come," he said.
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