Speech ● Immigration Reform
For Immediate Release: 
June 20, 2019
Contact Info: 
Annaliese Davis 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – This evening, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) was honored by CASA at the 7th Annual Justice Awards for his leadership and advocacy for immigrant rights and working families. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Good evening, and thank you so much for this honor. I am deeply humbled and I am proud to share this year’s Justice Award with my friend Representative Pramila Jayapal.

“Since coming to Congress, she has been an outstanding advocate for immigrants and refugees, and as leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, she has been a major figure in House Democrats’ efforts to protect the most vulnerable, promotes justice, and expand opportunity. Representative Japayal is herself an immigrant, who understands that America would not be America without the welcoming of newcomers. As the son of an immigrant, this is something I believe very strongly myself.

“Immigrants play a central role in building stronger communities here in Maryland and around the country. And they contribute tremendously to our local economies, starting businesses and creating jobs that pay well. Every generation of Americans has had the great fortune and great honor of being able to extend our arms to immigrants and refugees, many fleeing violence or natural disasters and seeking safety on our shores, and say: ‘welcome home.’

“It is tragic and deeply disturbing that the current Administration has been urging Americans to extend their palms and instead say: ‘go away.’ It is heartbreaking to watch the leader of our country call Latino immigrants ‘rapists’ and ‘murderers.’ It is deeply upsetting to hear him terrorize immigrants with threats of massive deportation raids and to see his Administration tear children from their parents’ arms and lock them away in cages.

“That’s not the message of America, and all of us have a responsibility to counter exclusion, division, and xenophobia with inclusion, unity, and respect. That is the approach of our new Democratic House Majority – to ensure that America treats immigrants and refugees with the respect and dignity they deserve.

“And that begins with our Dreamers, like Gabby, and those with TPS or DED status, who have lived here and been part of the fabric of American communities for many, many years. They are Americans in all but on paper, and they must be allowed to stay in the country they have called home and the communities of which they are an integral part. 

“That’s why I was so proud to bring H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, to the House Floor last month and vote for its passage. That bill sent a message to our country that we must stand united against bigotry, xenophobia, and exclusion.
“CASA and other organizations were instrumental in making sure we could get that bill passed. And it was just the beginning. We’re going to take the fight to the Senate to do everything we can to enact H.R. 6.

“President Trump promised to sign a bill for Dreamers if Congress approved it. Let’s test that promise and get the Senate to send him this bill. Our Majority will continue to press for comprehensive immigration reforms that create a pathway to citizenship for those who have been here, contributed to our economy, and abided by our laws.

“We will continue to oppose the President’s expensive and ineffective border wall, which remains a symbol of this administration’s deeply flawed approach to our border challenges.
“And we will do our part to ensure, as long as children and families are held in detention facilities at the border, which they ought not to be, that they have access to appropriate medical care, education, and other necessities to protect their health and well-being. 

“But House Democrats cannot do it alone. And we don’t have to, thankfully.

“Because CASA is there at every step, as advocates and activists, taking action to support efforts to end the Trump Administration’s inhumane practices and to promote justice for Dreamers, immigrants, and refugees seeking safety and opportunity in America.

“Here in our region, CASA has become a major force for good in our communities and help to thousands of immigrants and their families. I am honored to be a supporter of CASA and to work closely with Gustavo and the entire CASA team.
“Just as I am proud and honored to partner with Representative Jayapal and the Congressional Progressive Caucus as well as with my colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, led by Rep. Joaquin Castro.

“Thank you again for this award, which I will cherish. And thank you for the extraordinary work you are doing to help make America's policies reflect its greatest promise – to be a beacon of hope and freedom and opportunity that shines beyond our borders and, in the words of President Kennedy, whose glow ‘can truly light the world.’”