Weekly Democratic Address
February 10, 2017
The past few weeks have been, perhaps, the most significant test of our lifetime.
A test of our values. A test of who we want to be as a people. And a test of our will.
In attacking our Constitution, the fundamental tenets of our democracy and who we are as a people, President Trump has dismissed everything we stand for. Everything our ancestors fought for.
In the face of uncertainty and anger, we’ve seen a new front emerge: people who are united behind our American principles, behind everything that is great in this country, and, perhaps most importantly, united behind each other.
United because we all know that we are a stronger country because of immigrants.
United because we know this country has long prided itself in welcoming the stranger.
I’m from Queens, New York – a community in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty and a community built by immigrants. And I’m proud to represent it as the son of immigrants.
When my mother and grandparents came here from Ireland, I doubt they ever dreamed that someday – their son and grandson – would have the honor of walking the halls of Congress. Like today’s immigrant families, they wanted me to have every opportunity possible.
Immigrants are some of the bravest people I know, because they choose to leave behind everything and face the unknown.
They leave behind their neighborhoods, their schools, their churches, their synagogues, and mosques. They leave behind their homes.
And they do it all because they seek the promise that the United States offers them. The promise of opportunity.
By whatever means our ancestors came here, they gave us a lasting legacy that we can all be proud of. And that we must uphold.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about what is America, and what is American.
What’s American is people welcoming refugees and families at arrival gates. It’s lawyers upholding the Constitution from an airport floor and a laptop. It’s young people discovering the need for civic engagement. And children learning that no matter who you are, or where you came from, or what you believe, you are welcome here.
For all his bluster, President Trump has underestimated the strength and the will of the American people. The actions he’s taken have made our country less safe and have hurt our standing in the world. But they’re also not a reflection of who we are as a country.
So I promise you we will fight back – we will resist. We will resist on behalf of what is American. And we will resist on behalf of the immigrants who came here in the past, and who will come here in the future.
My fellow Americans, this is not a political fight – this is a fight for our future.
This is about our democracy. This is about our country. This is about our people – and making our voices heard.
And let me tell you: it’s working. And I know this is a fight we will win.
Thank you. And God bless America.