Suozzi Makes Impassioned Case for Protection of Immigrants During Speech on House Floor
References his immigrant father who would always say of America, “what a country!”
Last night, Congressman Tom Suozzi gave a powerful address on the House floor, defending immigrants and their contributions to America while invoking the experiences of his father, who immigrated from Italy. Suozzi’s full speech can be viewed on his Facebook page.
Below are some excerpts from Rep. Suozzi’s speech.
“When dealing with the question of DACA, with immigration, we have to look at some basic, fundamental American concepts. Let’s first remember that all immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, are human beings, and they are entitled to be treated with human respect and dignity. And the most fundamental concept in America is that ‘all men and women are created equal.’ Not ‘all men and women with a green card are created equal.’ Not ‘all men and women that are citizens are created equal.’ Not ‘all men and women from a particular country are created equal,’ but all human beings are created equal.”
“My father really lived a great American success story. He was a man who would proudly say ‘what a country!’ My father died two weeks before my election in 2016, and as I went through his papers, I saw his yearbook from St. Dominick’s High School when he was 18-years-old. My father wrote, ‘my goal is to be a real American.’”
“I am concerned that the rhetoric we’re facing right now, the negativity we’re facing right now…the outright assaults that we’re facing in some cases right now is causing so much anxiety in our country, and it’s diminishing our status as a beacon of hope to the world. That’s the great thing about America. That’s what makes America great – that we’re a beacon of hope to the world, and that beacon is being diminished by the rhetoric and our failure to address this immigration crisis.”
“I believe that this is the greatest country on Earth, and I believe my dad knew that. And he also knew that a central part to being the greatest country on Earth is being that beacon of hope to so many people, that said to our tired and our poor, yearning to breathe free, ‘come to our shores.’ If we really want to make America great again, we have to reclaim that mantle as the beacon of hope.”
“I was the young mayor of Glen Cove in 1994, and we had dayworkers from Central and South America gathering on the street corners seeking work. The community was divided…and I ended up setting up the first dayworker gathering spot anywhere on the east coast…and those same guys that were on the street corners now have their own businesses, they own their own homes, and their children go to school with my children…and that’s the American dream.”
Rep. Suozzi represents New York’s Third Congressional District. He is a cosponsor of the DREAM Act. In 2017, he met in person with local immigrants in danger of being deported from the United States because of the President’s decision to rescind DACA. He supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.