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In Honor of Immigrant Heritage Month, Progressive Congress Calls on All Americans to Reject Hateful Rhetoric and Embrace Our Nation’s Multicultural Immigrant Story
Washington, D. C. — June is Immigrant Heritage Month, and with the ever-increasing anti-immigrant rhetoric aiming to divide us rather than unite us, Progressive Congress issued the following statement in proud recognition of the many ways that immigrants have contributed to American society over the centuries since this nation’s founding.
“We are a nation of immigrants.
“Our roads, bridges, tunnels, buildings, and even the fabric of our country itself has been shaped over centuries by immigrant hands. Immigrant hands carved the stones in our monuments and our institutions. Immigrant feet marched for better working conditions, against racism, and for better educational and job opportunities for their children. Immigrants have helped drive this country forward. American culture as we know it would not exist without the many different cultures within our borders that make us so unique.
“Many of us who are not immigrants ourselves are here today enjoying life as Americans because our forebears made the often treacherous, uncertain journey to this country.
Progressive Congress is proud to celebrate June as Immigrant Heritage Month, and we call upon all elected officials and organizations to join in the call to reform our broken immigration system, so that those fleeing violence and terror can have a path to citizenship instead of detention or deportation, and so that those who built ties to this country over decades, built families and given back to their communities have a chance to become part of this great nation rather than living in fear in the shadows.
“Too many people this election cycle seem to have forgotten that they too are the product of immigration. Violent, hate-filled rhetoric against Hispanics and Latinos, refugees, and Muslims have threatened to turn our melting pot into a cesspool of bigotry.
“Our nation’s most beloved monument to freedom welcomes all newcomers at Ellis Island — Lady Liberty does not make exceptions for race, religion, ethnicity, income level, social status, gender, sexuality or any of the myriad differences that make us so wonderfully diverse. Lady Liberty did not turn away Scottish and Irish people fleeing famine or Easter Europeans fleeing the Nazis or Southeast Asians fleeing horrible living conditions or Central Africans fleeing systemic violence. Each decade, a new group of immigrants from a different country have brought their belongings and their hopes and dreams to our shores, and every decade, some Americans have showered them with hatred and racism and told them to go back where they’ve come from. Luckily for us, they have stayed and contributed enormously to our innovation and our culture. Every bit of food that we eat at a traditional, home-spun American meal comes from another country. Our very language is made of words from more than 200 languages.
“As we celebrate our immigrant heritage, let’s take time to reflect on what will move us forward as a nation regarding immigration. Let’s do away with the racist immigration raids that deprive families of loved ones, with the ridiculous plan to build a wall around our Southwestern border, with outdated immigrant quota systems, with anti-immigrant legislation that would have gotten our forebears deported in a heartbeat, with state laws that institute racial profiling as a means to target potential undocumented immigrants, and with the hateful rhetoric that incites violence against people who have in fact fled from violence to come here.
“Instead, let’s embrace our many cultures and welcome refugees who come poor, tired, and huddled to our shores, yearning to become a part of our free, brave nation. Let’s institute comprehensive immigration reform so that others have the opportunity to live out great stories of American opportunity and ingenuity and contribute their hopes, dreams, skills, and innovative thinking to make our country even better and stronger than before.”
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Progressive Congress is a 501(c)3 organization that connects change makers in the grassroots Progressive community and lawmakers in Congress, in particular the Congressional Progressive Caucus, to help shape and drive forward a Progressive agenda. We provide access to innovative, forward-thinking ideas and serve as the vital linkage between Progressive leaders on and off the Hill. To learn more about our work, visit www.progressivecongress.org.