Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement saluting University of California -- Los Angeles professor Raúl Hinojosa Ojeda, who will be honored by the White House on July 27 as a "Connecting the Americas Champion of Change" for his work linking immigrant diasporas to their home countries. The Champions of Change program, part of President Obama's Winning the Future initiative, highlights individuals whose work has strengthened communities and impacted the lives of people throughout the Americas.
"Raúl is an extraordinary American who never forgot where he came from, dedicating his life to the betterment of others. His innovative policy leadership has lifted up entire communities on both sides of the Rio Grande. And his pioneering work on the North American Development Bank has improved environmental conditions and the quality of life of so many families along the U.S. -- Mexico border.
"Raúl has argued powerfully and persuasively about the economic necessity of comprehensive immigration reform, which he estimates would add $1.5 trillion to our gross domestic product and hundreds of thousands of jobs to the American labor force. He has made a vital contribution to the ongoing immigration debate in the nation's capital by demonstrating how bringing millions of hard-working immigrants out of the shadows would dramatically speed our nation's economic recovery.
"Raúl is a Los Angeles treasure. It's fitting that he pursues his humanistic goals as a scholar at UCLA's César Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies, because Raúl personifies César's "can-do' spirit and his passionate commitment to the betterment of Latinos and working people everywhere."