Washington, DC — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement today to commemorate the birthday of legendary civil rights leader, and founder of the United Farmworkers, César Chávez.
“Today, as we honor the legacy of Cesar Chavez and the 40th anniversary of the historic 1966 Pilgrimage from Delano to Sacramento where he fought for social and economic justice for farm workers, I am inspired by his tireless pursuit for the American principles of justice, equality and freedom. He saw that the agricultural system exploited farm workers who harvest our land for the food on our tables, and he fearlessly fought to right that wrong.
“As Congress considers immigration reform, we need to learn by his example, fix what has gone wrong, and restore order and dignity to our broken immigration system. We have 11 million people living in the shadows of our society, and it’s time that we find out who they are, provide opportunities for them to pursue the American Dream lawfully, and simultaneously learn who is crossing our borders so we can concentrate our resources on capturing those who wish us harm, and not on those who come to seek a better life for their families.
“I am proud that the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bi-partisan immigration bill this week that provides a path toward citizenship for undocumented immigrants, re-unites families, strengthens border security, and provides an opportunity for our farm workers to earn citizenship. As we continue to debate this issue on the Senate floor, I am hopeful that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will recognize that we have a historic opportunity to create an immigration system that pays tribute to our history as a nation of immigrants, while better protecting our borders.
“As Cesar Chavez did, we should stand firm in our pursuit to make right a system that has been wrong for decades.”