Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on Immigrant Heritage Month

0_rtxk3Era_P3Jjuo2America is, and must forever remain, a nation of immigrants. It is written in our DNA; it is reflected in our Constitution; it is emblazoned in the base of the Statue of Liberty — that “from her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome.” Throughout the month of June, Jill and I are excited to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month, a time for every American to pay tribute to the continuous, vital, and innumerable contributions that immigrants make to our nation.

Unless your ancestors were native to this land, or forcibly brought to these shores as part of our country’s original sin of slavery, the history of your family in America can be traced back to a courageous and optimistic choice: to leave behind everything familiar in search of a better life. Generation after generation, America is fortified anew by waves of immigrants — people of hope and drive who come from every part of the world to refuel our dynamism and broaden our national fabric.

Immigrants have always propelled and sustained our nation — lifting us to new heights economically and culturally, helping our communities and industries thrive, and furthering our essential spirit of innovation. This June, we are particularly mindful of the millions of immigrants combating COVID-19 on the front lines as doctors and nurses, delivery drivers and grocery clerks, researchers, small business owners, and in so many other capacities. As ever, immigrants are stepping up for all of us — even as they grapple with the pandemic at disproportionate levels due in part to unconscionable health and economic disparities that have been allowed to fester for too long.

Now more than ever, we must do more than simply celebrate the contributions and honor the sacrifices of immigrants. We must come together as a nation to eradicate the systemic racism that denies so many immigrant and minority families their fair shot at the American Dream. And we must reaffirm our unique strength and our foundational promise — that we are an immigrant nation by design and by desire. When we celebrate our immigrants, we celebrate America itself, and the most fundamental of American values. Jill and I will always fight to preserve those values and deliver dignity and respect to immigrants, so that this nation never ceases to “lift [her] lamp beside the golden door” for all who dream of being an American.

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