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Reid: Remarks upon receiving award from National Council of La Raza



harryreid1-150x150-3851064-2069058Remarks by Sen. Harry Reid Tuesday, March 2, 2010:

I know this award is not just recognition of what we’ve done together in the past–that it is really a call to action for the future.

As I accept this honor, I also accept that responsibility.

We must keep fighting and keep moving forward because too many families depend on us to act. Too many Hispanic Americans will lie awake tonight and worry about their future. They will toss and turn and agonize about how they can keep the heat on, keep their homes from foreclosing and keep their health care.

Too many will lie awake tonight because too few of them have a job to go to tomorrow morning.

Nearly 13 percent of Hispanics are unemployed. Hispanic households earn $16,000 less than the national average. And Hispanics are more susceptible to foreclosure and losing their homes than any other group. These facts are unacceptable.

We found ourselves in this mess because we followed economic policies that left Hispanic Americans behind. That’s also unacceptable, and that’s why we’re changing course.

In the Senate, we’ve tried for days to extend unemployment insurance and health benefits. As you may have heard, a single Senator–backed by other Republican Senators–is standing between millions of families and the help they need.

That might work according to Senate rules, but it doesn’t work for working families. I hope you will join me in calling out those who brazenly say “no” when so many families are desperate to finally hear someone say “yes.”

There is something else we can do to boost our economy and do right by the families who play by the rules–we can reform immigration in a tough, fair and practical way.

We deeply miss Senator Ted Kennedy, who looked out for the Hispanic community every day for more than 40 years as the Chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on immigration.

Successfully fixing a broken system that affects us all requires all of our commitment. We cannot be slowed by partisan differences. I know the Democrats in my caucus are eager to finally push immigration reform over the finish line–but we’ll need help from the other side, and we’ll need you to show them the way.

Our economy can’t afford for us to fail. You stood with me over the past couple of years as we fought hard for the right reforms, and I know I can count on you again as we continue that effort.

The Latino community embodies the qualities that make our country great: family, faith, hard work, and independence. Our mission is to ensure all Americans get a fair shot at success–and ensure each of us can fulfill the promise that brought all of us to America.

Thank you for this honor, and thank you in advance for the successes yet to come. We will travel this road to recovery together because your heritage is our shared heritage. Your concerns are the concerns of all Americans. And there is no doubt that your future will be our future.

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