JERSEY CITY, NJ – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the highest ranking Latino in the U.S. Congress, issued the following statement commemorating the start of the eighth annual Immigrant Heritage Month. Sen. Menendez has long advocated for immigration reform, and earlier this year introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, President Biden’s bold, inclusive, and humane framework for immigration reform.
“As the son of Cuban refugees, I have never forgotten my roots or my parents’ many sacrifices. Thanks to them, who had the courage to flee oppression on the island of Cuba and start anew in the United States, I was afforded the opportunity to live the American Dream that so many immigrants aspire for their children. And thanks to this great nation, one which welcomed my family with open arms and recognized that immigrants are an inherent and vital part of the tapestry of American life, I have had the distinct honor of spending the better part of my life serving in Congress, fighting to ensure everyone who considers this nation their home also has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.
“Across each generation of our nation’s history, immigrants, like my mom Evangelina, work hard to make invaluable contributions that make our nation more innovative, more prosperous, and more globally competitive. This has been especially true since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which demonstrated the collective importance of immigrant communities across the country. Our nation’s essential, frontline workers include at least five million undocumented immigrants among their ranks who have worked to care for the sick, secure our country’s food supply, clean and sanitize businesses that stayed opened, and run our public transit systems.
“Immigrants have helped fuel our economy during this public health and economic crisis, and they will be the ones driving our national recovery. This Immigrant Heritage Month must therefore be about celebrating the vital and essential role immigrants have always played in expanding American opportunity and prosperity. It must, however, go beyond the symbolic overture. It must also be about taking decisive action and delivering bold, inclusive, and humane immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
“Today, I therefore reaffirm my commitment to fighting for immigration reform, and call on every one of my colleagues and the Biden Administration to take advantage of any and all opportunities to deliver immigration reform once and for all.”