Hispanic Heritage Month

September 19, 2012

This month is Hispanic Heritage Month, and I hope you will join me in celebrating the many contributions that Latinos have made to our nation.

Our country was founded on the ideals of freedom, tolerance, and mutual respect. Too often we allow our differences to divide us – but growing up in Latin America, I learned that it is in fact our differences that make us special, and that it is when we celebrate those differences and embrace our common humanity that we see what makes this nation truly great.

Our nation's motto - "E Pluribus Unum," or "Out of Many, One" – is a testament to the idea that we are stronger when we work together and embrace all who seek to make it in America – and that includes the Latino people. The Latino population has always been an important part of our national heritage, culture, and community. That is why I was pleased to hear that President Obama has issued a new rule protecting certain young undocumented people from deportation, so that they can have an opportunity to showcase their talents, contribute to our economy, and achieve the American Dream. I believe in an America that rewards those who play by the rules, and while this is only a small step towards reforming our broken immigration system, it is an important one, and I look forward to working with the President and all of my colleagues in Congress on helping the Latino community thrive.

But our broken immigration system is not the only problem of concern to the Latino community. High school graduation rates among the Latino population are far lower than the national average, and economic and social inequalities persist. Hispanic Heritage Month reminds us that we must rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equality for all people, so that everyone who comes to this country can have a fair chance.

It is a pleasure to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with you, and I encourage you to take this opportunity to learn more about the contributions of the Latino community. You can also watch a special video message I recorded about Hispanic Heritage Month below, in English and in Spanish.