Washington, DC — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today issued the following statement in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which starts today and ends on October 15th.
“During Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor the Hispanic community and pay tribute to the extraordinary contributions that Hispanics make to the United States year-round.
“Hispanic-Americans are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. Through their hard work, dedication to family, and commitment to community, Latinos have helped make our nation stronger and more vibrant. Hispanics’ contributions in the arts, the economy and politics have had a lasting impact in our nation’s fabric. Latinos are also the most highly decorated group in American military history. In addition, Hispanic purchasing power exceeds $800 billion, with the fastest growing sector of our economy being Latina owned firms.
“Yet despite all of these contributions, the Bush Administration and the Republican controlled Congress have given their backs to Latino families. They have done nothing to address the fact that 1 out of every 3 Latinos is uninsured. They have also sat by while Latinos continue to face the highest dropout rates in the country. Whether it is their shameful anti-immigrant rhetoric and their refusal to enact comprehensive immigration reform or choosing to give more tax cuts to the rich instead of raising the minimum wage, this GOP Congress is out of touch with Latino values.
“It is time for a new direction. As César Chávez once said: ‘If you are outraged at conditions, then you cannot possibly be happy until you do everything you can to change them.’ That is why the Latino community must go out and register to vote this November and make their voices heard.
“Democrats have a proven record of fighting for the issues that Hispanics and all American working families care about. We will continue to fight to raise the minimum wage, to improve the quality of our children’s education, and to expand access to affordable healthcare for all. Democrats also believe that the only way to have real security at our borders is to reform our broken immigration system in a way that strengthens enforcement, provides a pathway to earned citizenship for undocumented workers, and is fair to taxpayers and American workers.
“Hispanic Americans deserve better. They deserve a government that listens to their concerns and addresses their fundamental needs. On Hispanic Heritage Month, let us celebrate the enormous contributions that Latinos make to our nation. And let us recommit ourselves to the struggle to achieve equality and justice for all.”