Weekly Democratic Address
September 20, 2019
Hello, I’m Joaquin Castro, Congressman from Texas and Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this term.
We have much to celebrate and reflect upon this Hispanic Heritage Month. Latinos are a part of the soul of this country – from the strength and diversity of our communities, to the history, culture and contributions of Latinos.
We are the laborers in the fields, growing the food that feeds America.
We are the soldiers who answered the call to serve in Vietnam and the Gulf Wars and never came home.
We are the marchers who took to the streets and demanded the rights and dignities of workers.
We are the educators that instill in young children the values of dignity, respect, and hard work that have defined our own communities for generations.
We are the entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders that make our communities prosperous and our businesses competitive.
Every day, I see the role that Latinos play in building our country.
Latinos come from all walks of life and different backgrounds. We come from Texas, California, Florida and Puerto Rico, the rural communities in Iowa, Minnesota, Georgia, South Carolina, and across this country.
Some are immigrants and proud of their heritage, but no matter our diverse backgrounds, we are all proud to be a part of the American family.
But the Latino community, in the last few years, has been something else.
We have been a target – a target of a president’s prejudice, the target of smears and scolding when we speak Spanish in public. And sadly, the target of a mad man in Texas, who killed 22 in El Paso.
Historically, scapegoating is dangerous. During the Great Depression, over a million Mexican Americans, many of whom were already US citizens, were deported because people blamed them for taking jobs during tough economic times.
As echoes of that era resound today, I implore all of us as Americans to not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Mr. President: No one has to choose between the country and Hispanics.
Hispanics are the country, just like every other American, no matter where their family came from.
That’s why I am deeply concerned about this Administration’s discriminatory policies – which have threatened the legal status of 800,000 DREAMers and hundreds of thousands of TPS recipients who know the United States as home.
The Trump Administration has violated human rights and caused suffering of thousands at our Southern Border – tearing apart families, caging children, turning away asylum seekers who came here fleeing the most unimaginable circumstances.
This is personal to me – my own grandmother came here as an immigrant, a seven-year-old orphan who came to Texas from Mexico. She worked as a housekeeper, a maid, a babysitter, and raised my mother, Rosie, who in turn became a community organizer in Texas.
As we face adversity, we are not without hope. Nothing can diminish the deep, enduring perseverance that defines us as Latinos.
I know that our Hispanic communities are a strong and proud part of this country, and I will stand with you and fight for you.
In Congress, we are hard at work “For The People” on so many issues that impact all Americans every day, from prescription drug prices to ensuring that all are counted in the 2020 Census.
Thank you, and I hope you, your family, and all in our community have a wonderful Hispanic Heritage Month.