Democratic Hispanic Radio Address Senator John F. Kerry
Air Date: April 1, 2006
"Good morning. I am Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts.
"This week Senate Democrats won an important victory toward comprehensive immigration reform that honors the contributions of immigrants and provides real security for America.
"The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bi-partisan immigration bill that: 1) provides a path toward citizenship for undocumented immigrants, 2) re-unites families, and 3) strengthens border security.
"Democrats made sure that the Dream Act was included, so that young people who have spent most of their lives in the United States, who believe in our country, who have stayed out of trouble, can have a chance at a higher education. We also recognize the hard work of those who labor in our fields and we insisted on an initiative that would allow more than a million agricultural workers to earn a path toward legalization.
"We stood up to the Republicans who saw immigration reform as a chance to punish immigrants. We eliminated provisions that would criminalize immigrants and anyone who would help them. This was an important step, given the fact that the House Republican approved bill passed in December would allow the prosecution of clergy, hospital workers, charities or anyone else who would help thy neighbor. Cardinal Mahoney from California was right to take a stand against this punitive measure, and we Democrats were able to defeat it.
"Democrats were able to achieve all of this, despite attempts by Senate Republican Majority Leader Frist to cater to the narrowest interests in his party and impose a wrongheaded enforcement only bill.
"We understand what this fight is all about. We are a nation of immigrants and we are a nation that is strengthened because of immigrant contributions to our economy and communities. As someone married to an immigrant, I am reminded every day by my wife of how you can love your roots and love your heritage even as you fulfill the full measure of your love of this country and your loyalty as a United States citizen.
"Today, everyone knows our immigration system is broken -- but Democrats recognize that we can't fix it unless we do this comprehensively and do it right.
"Although this week's victory is important, we must continue to fight so that comprehensive immigration reform finally becomes the law of the land. Democrats will continue to advocate for tough and smart policies that help secure all Latino families and all Americans. With your help, we can get the job done.
"I am Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts. Thanks for listening. "