PLAINFIELD, NJ - America is undisputedly a nation of immigrants. Whether your ancestors arrived by boat, airplane or even by automobile; whether they came via the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea, what they all had in common is that they were in search of the American Dream.
They were told that to be American was to eschew racial, religious and social prejudices and embrace the ideal that all men are created equal and that in America you could be anything you wanted to be. Our constitution was founded on and defends the tenets of equality, inclusion, humanity, and freedom.
There are no easy answers when it comes to the subject of immigration. There are those who are worried that immigrants come here to steal jobs and create more hardship for hard-working Americans. The truth is that The United States was built, in large part, by immigrants-and the nation has long been the beneficiary of the new ideas, energy, and ingenuity that immigrants brought to these shores.
An America without immigrants is a nation that would flounder. Immigrants make up a significant portion of the U.S. workforce in a range of industries, accounting for over 41 percent of all farming, fishing, and forestry workers-as well as nearly 25 percent of those working in technology, math and sciences. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of the country's diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.
Immigrants are our neighbors, our children's teachers, their classmates, our grocers, our doctors. While no one disputes that we could benefit from immigration reform, we need a reasoned, thoughtful and compassionate strategy. To separate families, and target young people who have called this country home for their entire lives is cruel, it's inhumane, and it goes against the ideals that have defined the United States of America, and has given the privilege and opportunity to the very men and women who now sit in the halls of the United States Congress.
Our City of Plainfield is very diverse, and we enjoy sharing cultures and learning about our neighbors from other countries. Each person brings a unique perspective to the tapestry of our community. I, myself am an immigrant who was gratified to be afforded educational opportunities in this country which enabled me to propel myself forward. The America that welcomed me is the America that dreams are built on. It's the America that immigrants fought for, the America that they helped build and the America whose tradition we must uphold. It's the America that said "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore; Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
We have a legacy to leave for our children and their children and the policies we implement today will stand as a testament to the kind of people we are. Let this legacy reflect love and humanity, let it echo equality for all, let it stand for freedom from persecution. I stand behind a fair and reasoned immigration reform policy which supports these values and will continue to be an advocate locally as well as nationally. This is what my conscience dictates to me and what I know to be my constitutional duty.