Whether our ancestors came to America many generations ago or whether we were born overseas and America is now our home, such as for my husband, Vincent, who is originally from a farming community in The Netherlands, we have always been proud of our diversity and ingenuity and the hard work and entrepreneurship of immigrants who have made America the prosperous nation we know today.
When my great grandmother and great grandfather immigrated to northern California, they took in laundry and poured cement to make a living and ensure a stable life for their children. Like my great grandparents, many of our current immigrants and first generation Americans are prepared to perform difficult work harvesting our fields and building our homes and key infrastructure while enriching our communities. For these reasons, I am a fierce advocate for immigration reform, including the “blue card” program supported by Senators Feinstein and Harris to provide a legal pathway for undocumented farm workers to stay in America and eventually obtain citizenship.
For most of the children of undocumented immigrants who came to America while very young, our country is the only country they know. They are our friends and neighbors, fellow students and co-workers. I have had the honor and sincere pleasure to get to know two DREAMers in our district who are leaders in our fight for the rights of all immigrants nationally and by meeting with members of the Silicon Valley business community, including Mark Zuckerberg, and our senator in California, Kamala Harris.
Our nation’s greatest leaders, Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez, fervently fought for our civil rights and the rights of farm workers. And, in decades past, we have made progress against racism and discrimination through the Civil Rights Act and legislation to protect those who perform dangerous and labor-intensive work. Yet, the current administration and attorney general would turn our country back not only to a pre-Obama era but a pre-Civil Rights era. We will not let America slip backwards. We are moving this country forwards, and we are electing members of Congress who firmly condemn white supremacy and neo-Nazism.
We will not stand by silently in the face of injustice. We will continue to rekindle the flame held by the Statute of Liberty and carry the torch for our immigrants and refugees. America is now and will always remain a land of immigrants.
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