tv Secretary Perez Remarks at NALEO Conference CSPAN June 27, 2016 8:30am-8:59am EDT
it was an unexceptional moment except for the fact that she was born in 1894, and her name was marguerite lewis, an african-american woman who had been born in louisiana, born in the shadow of slavery, born at a time when lynchings were common place, born at a time when african-americans and women could not vote.
this posted by the national association of latino elected and appointed officials. it's 30 minutes. >> thank you. good afternoon. thank you. great to be here your that ask you to give one more hand to the people who are serving our meal and working so hard for us? [applause] justin, thank you so much. buenos aires. it's an honor to be here with you. it's an honor to be with so many distinguished leaders and mentors, mentors like henry, secretary cisneros, great friends like alex padilla, and
the force of nature known as arturo vargas. when we start with arturo? thank you for what you do day in and day out, arturo. and to pauline, michel martinez, two examples of when women succeed, naleo succeeds, so thank you so much for what you are doing and this is not my visit to naleo. it's always been an honor to be with you. it's an honor to be with you because having been in local government i know the rubber hits the road and local government. i know when you're working in cities and counties and states, you can't afford to be ideological. you've got to get the job done. so i want to say thank you for everything that you are doing. and when i think of naleo, when i think of all the people of the privilege of getting to know during my time with naleo, i can't help but think about what
john lewis was doing yesterday. he was part of a sit in at the house of representatives with a number of other courageous democrats. and if you saw his hashtag, it said hashtag good trouble. when i think of hashtag good trouble i think of naleo. so keep causing a lot of good trouble. i often goes into a room and i know or have some understanding that there've been events that have occurred almost contemporaneous with our meeting because we live our world in real-time. and i can't help but reflect on the events this morning at the supreme court. because, you know, frankly the ruling on the dapa case, it's disappointing to say the minimum. it frankly breaks my heart because our member i was when the president announced it.
i was at cast lead to maryland which is remarkable nonprofit that i used to be the board chair of anna remember vividly the looks of hope and potential on the faces of so many immigrants. who have been working so hard. and when i see what i saw today, it certainly and undeniably breaks my heart. i will do just that it will never break my spirit nor shall it ever break your spirit to italy strengthens my resolve to fight for fairness and it only strengthens my resolve and our resolve to fight for comprehensive immigration reform. that is a win question in this country. it is not than it country in this question. i have no doubt about it. it's not going to be -- it's going to be -- i have no doubt about it. we need your help. we need to make sure that merrick garland gets a fair
hearing because they have time to vote against the affordable care act 64 times at the dawn of time for hearing on merrick garland. entity illustrates the consequences of the broken republican leadership. we've got to get on that, my friends. because we do need your help. and i will tell you when of reflecting on the decision of earlier today, i thought of a tightening was a gutierrez. i have not had the privilege of meeting and but i've certainly read a lot about him because he has inspired me. i think his story is so appropriate in the context of today's ruling but because josé both sought and embodied the hope and optimism that's always defined america. he was born into poverty outside guatemala city. he became an orphan at the age of eight. raising himself on the streets of guatemala city, surrounded by
violence and abject poverty but how they wanted more. josé and so many others like him, they deserved more. so we set out for a better future. he came to this country, a 3000-mile journey of scars and sacrifices, he arrived here in the u.s. undocumented, went into foster care. he wanted to be an architect. he went to community college. he was able to have a status adjusted. he so loved this country that he joined the marines. and on march 21, 2003, josé gutierrez was killed and a tank battle in southern iraq, one of the first casualties in the most recent war in iraq. at the time of his death, he was an american in every single way except on paper. and he received his citizenship lost mostly. the -- posthumously. he is now an american citizen and he will always be an
american history. and i've no doubt the 4 million people who were told today to wait some more, there are many other josé gutierrez's among them. i have no doubt about it. [applause] and what i admire so much about josé and so many others like josé, was that chronic optimism, that chronic sense that he can do better, that chronic inpatients that comes along with the desire to do better. and that is why, despite what we saw this morning, i come to you today with an unrelenting optimism about the future of our country. because i see so many of you doing remarkable things. i can't help but acknowledge one of my great friends here, from the great state of maryland, fellow dominicana. she is a remarkable elected social doing great things in
maryland. i see kevin come a great friend from california with whom i've been working so much on issues involving secure retirement. i see ruben come and speak with rubin with great frequency. the remarkable member of congress from arizona who is doing so much. all of you fueled by optimism. and, frankly, so does the data showing that we are moving in the right direction. we are moving away from the worst economic mess of our lifetime. the latino unemployment rate in the depths of the recession was 13% and now it is 5.6%. from 2012-2014 the number of latinos living in poverty fell by roughly 1 million. since 2000, the latino high school dropout rate has been cut in half. since 2008 the rate of college enrollment among young latinos has risen by nine percentage points so that nearly 35% of young latinos are attending college. and today's affirmative action ruling is critical to the
ability to produce an america that looks like america. [applause] my parents taught me and my four siblings that education is the great equalizer. my father quite literally worked himself to an early death so he could provide for his five children, and that is what all of my siblings were able to have their privilege for the benefit of pell grants and other things producing and going into higher education. all of my siblings became doctors, and i do become a lawyer because i fainted at the sight of blood. [laughter] but education is the great equalizer. that's the immigrant story. every parent tells that to their children. and we know in terms of progress that thanks to the leadership of presidenpresident obama the affe care act has helped 4 million latino adults get coverage. thanks to you, because so many of you were working on enrollment fairs, so many of you were spreading the word about
the importance of the affordable care act. a group that once had an uninsured rate of 40% have seen that rate dropped by over 11 percentage points. and underneath those statistics it is you working so hard. thanks to you, millions of americans have gotten a raise. inspite of the republican opposition here in congress to wage -- raise raise the minimum, you have taken the bull by the horns and led at state and local levels. people laughed at the fight for 15 of the four years ago. they are not laughing anymore because 20% of the nation now lives in state and local governments that are either passing 15, half past 15, will soon pass $50 an hour. thank you to california. thank you to do your. thank you to sea-tac in washington state for starting the movement. seattle and so many other places. because you know nobody who works a full-time job in this country should have to live in poverty. and the businesses that i talked
to know that when you pay a decent wage, you retain your workers longer. you have more money in people's pockets, and that creates a virtuous cycle. and we know who is disproportionately benefiting from these increases in the minimum wage. in california, for instance, latinos make up 55% of all workers who will get a raise as a result of the $15 an hour minimum wage, so thank you to all of you have been working on these wage fairness issues across the country. i am so sorry that the republicans here in washington simply haven't gotten the memo. minimum wage has historically been a bipartisan issue. every single president except to since fdr has signed increase in the minimum wage, but the number one priority for all too many people on the republican side in this congress it to make sure that president obama doesn't have a signing ceremony. the number one priority should
be helping the american people, and it's all too frequently isn't. thanks to you, millions more americans no longer have to choose between the job that they need and the family that they love. i meet so many people, especially low income people, who are having a baby or who have basic parent, but because they don't have paid leave at work they have to make unconscionable choice is between a child that they love and the job that they need. that's not right. and once again we tried to do something about this in washington. i have no doubt that paid family leave is a one -- is a when question, not an if question. u.s.a. and local levels have been leading the charge. just yesterday chicago became the 28th local jurisdiction to adopt an earned sick leave policy. it's the reason i bring this up is because this issue is critically important for
latinos. who are much less likely to access to paid leave. that is a factor nearly three in 10 latino children live with only one parent. making access to leave that much more important. and want to say thank you as well because thanks to you, 4.2 million people became citizens between 2009-2014. and that is because of your efforts. community leaders like you, you are helping people get across the finish line. we still have about 825 million people who are eligible to naturalize but haven't naturalized. -- 8.2. we must always remember -- [speaking spanish] -- we have to remember that. and your work in making sure that people who are eligible to vote vote is so critically important. but i am not, was born at night. i wasn't born last night. and while i'm an eternal optimist i see america at its
best day in and day out. i have seen america that needs to get better. day in and day out. we have an undeniable list of unfinished business, and we must continue to work on that unfinished business. and i know that as we've done this throughout our nation's history, i'll tell the u.s. helped to get the job done. it is always been immigrants. from the founding of our nation, immigrants fought and made the ultimate sacrifice in the revolutionary war, the marquis lafayette come a french been prevented by them a lot because i had the privilege of going to see hamilton on broadway an andi found myself come if you haven't gone to seed, a $1000 got to go see it, unfortunately because it's a heck of a lot of money. a lot of yet, there's a great song with lafayette and alexander hamilton where they're talking about the battle and they say, immigrants, we get the job done.
and you know what? they are right because you look at what immigrants have accomplished. so many immigrants have lent their color to our flight. immigrants comprise 18% of union soldiers in the civil war. immigrants like my father and his brothers were among hundreds of thousands immigrants. my father and his brothers who earned their citizenship throughout service during world war ii. we saw so many other statistics about the importance of immigrants. almost 70% of u.s. labor force and 18% of business owners are immigrants. immigrants are three times as likely to file patents as us-born citizens. 40% of the largest american companies were founded by immigrants or their children. we are indeed getting the job done but we have more work to do, my friends. because i was just that with farmworkers in california, and their challenge inspire me. the keeping of the type of a kidney up in the morning to
lecture we can help them. because too many people who pick our crops can't afford to put food on their own table. too many people who care for our loved ones can't afford to spend time with her own families. too many dreamers are continuing the dream, and today's supreme court decision underscores the need more than ever as i mentioned earlier for comprehensive immigration reform. we needed it yesterday. we also have more work to do to fix the immigration system. we don't have the luxury of time. because josé gutierrez and the legacy of josé deserve better. but we see so many other challenges in this country. i still continue to watch as joe arpaio gets held in contempt by courts in arizona, and i saw firsthand that some shares out there think that racial profiling makes communities safer. it does not make communities safer. thank you for standing up to rogue shares like a joe arpaio
who do nothing for public safety and everything for public division. [applause] all too many states in this country have legislators who believe that voter id is the key to making it harder black and brown people to vote. let's call that id laws what they are. they are a scourge on our nation. they are effort to make it harder for latinos, harder for african-americans to vote. [applause] and further there been some legislators who had inadvertently acknowledged that. one congressman from wisconsin who said the wisconsin voter id law would help elect republicans in the next cycle. alleges are from pennsylvania who said the same thing during the 2012 cycle. the purpose of voter id was to elect republicans by making it harder for african-americans and latinos to vote. we can do better. i saw this firsthand when i was at th the department of justice.
i saw it all too frequently the voter id laws come and i will tell you, i was so appreciative of the work of the assistance i got from so many people in this room. and the fact of the matter is, we lost a critical to to protect latinos and african-americans and other people seeking the right to vote when the supreme court struck down the shelby case. and as justice ginsburg so adequately put it, throwing out section five of the voting rights act when it has worked and is entering to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you were not getting wet. it has protected the rights of so many people. and i was in arizona recently, and if you read about the democratic primary, or their primary generally, a few months ago, it was a mess. it was a mess because they reduced the number of places where you could vote.
if the law had been in place they would not have been able to do that. and guess where those places that reduced the most. where latinos live. that's unconscionable. without the voting rights act we had less tools in our toolbox. and so we have to do more about this. we have to do more to address economic inequality. we had to do more to rebuild the infrastructure of democracy. but my friends, this time that we are living in is more than simply about educational access or inequality of the minimum wage or the affordable care act. all of those critically important issues. i never be believe we're living in a moment in time that it's a debate about really who we are as a nation. it's the fundamental question of what we stand for as a nation. it's a choice i believe between reverting to the failed policies
of the past, the past prejudices of the past, or marshaling the collective hope and optimism, and we are all in it together approach that is kept our nation so strong. the recent events in orlando, a historic reminder that all too frequently prejudices persist the nsw headed up the civil rights division, that act of hate, that i could tear was something i saw all too frequently. and we owe it to those victims. we await to our values as a nation to celebrate our diversity, not be fearful of our diversity, it to make sure that we build bridges and not walls in this country. [applause] and i will tell you, my friends, because i travel international internationally, the whole world is watching america. they are looking to see if we will indeed build bridges or whether we will build walls.
will be martial that collective spirit of can do, or will we say, to the demons of fear and isolation. -- we are at this moment that often call the where were you moment, where your children and grandchildren someda some day de ugly asking you mom, dad -- >> translator [speaking spanish] where were you then? i remember asking my family where was my grandfather through the horrible dictator independent and republican ordered the massacre of 20,000 haitians. the answer was he spoke up against it. he spoke out against a. he got kicked out and he was on the right side of history, and i'm so proud of my grandfather for doing that, even though it was against so many forces. [applause]
and history you will soon ask where we were in the face of unrelenting attacks on immigrant unrelenting attacks on our on te muslim brothers and sisters. unless the attacks on voting rights. history will ask if he spoke up for the rights of people who did not look like you. and as a pastor once said, he was someone who opposed nazi germany and hitler, he said the following which i think seems to the challenges of today. first they came for the socialists and i did not speak out because i was not a socialist. then they came for the trade unionists and i did not speak up because i was not a trade unionist. and they came for the back and i did not speak out because i was not a jew. and then they came for me, and there was nobody left to speak. we must always speak out against any injustice anywhere.
that has been dapanaleo is dna that will always be naleo is dna. that's why -- every single day. we have seen this movie before, my friends and that is why i have so much optimism. i know nothing movement of the mid-19th century was fundamentally an anti-immigrant anti-catholic movement, and it failed because it was fundamentally un-american. in the 1880s we pass the chinese exclusion act. we interned japanese-americans during world war ii, and you know what? those were wrong. we have to beat these things back. and you know, we have indeed been these things back, these forces back every time whether it was from selma to cesar chavez to that is to rights movement. we've always been able to summon those three simple words on which our nation was built, e. pluribus unum, out of many
one. it is appears just above the eagle on the great seal of the united states as you know, and the number of a nice court of the land, and on every dollar bill in the strongest, most resilient economy in the world. i take comfort again from the start of another immigrant, a guy named albert einstein. my friend walter isaacson who is a remarkable storyteller tells the story of albert einstein. he came to the u.s. to flee nazi germany, and he wrote a letter to his son during the height of the mccarthy era in which he expressed fear. what is going on in the united states of america? 'tis witchhunts for common as. what is going on with american values? this feels like hitler. and did he wrote another letter on why later in which he talked about the united states ability to course correct. this is what he said to his son.
there's something amazing about america's democracy. it's got a guy with scope, just when you think it's going to go off the cliff, it rights itself. -- gyroscope it rights itself because of people like you. you are the gyroscope that gives us the collective power of we that ensures that we do live e. pluribus unum common factor in despite the naysayers, i continue to remain as optimistic as ever because every other time we've confronted these challenges in our nation's history, we have had the gyroscope. you are the gyroscope. we've had three murders about our nation's history, dreamers are not simply a group of people seeking status and citizenship are dreamers are who we are as a nation. dreamers are the values of our nation. that is exactly who we are.
[applause] so i could tell you, we have work to do. toddled other economic issues and on our democracy issues but we have work that the whole world is watching. and our work is more important than ever before. because the whole world is watching. and we can summon our better angels now and we will summon our better angels now for the better of america. and so as the civil rights song goes, some days we fall down but we always get up. i have no doubt that we may have fallen down today on dapa, but that fall is brief because we would get up. we will get stronger. we were not only say -- [speaking spanish] i have no doubt about that on immigration reform. i've no doubt about that on so many other issues of critical importance. so new to say in closing, don't
ever get down. get up. gilad john lewis told you, what john lewis does every day, day in and day out, cause good trouble. that's a we have to do. that's the secret to our success as a nation. you are the gyroscope. let's together martial the collective power of we to build an america that works for everyone. the land of opportunity, a land in which we say we do not make our candle brighter by point out our neighbors candle. we make our candle brighter by ensuring that every candle across every zip code is linked. that's who we are as a nation and that's who we will always be as a nation. so let's go forward together. [speaking spanish] [applause]
>> hillary clinton is on the camping trip today with massachusetts senator elizabeth warren. but to make their first public appearance together since senator warner endorsed the former secretary of state. we will have a five-foot at 10:30 a.m. eastern from ohio on c-span. >> the hard-fought 2016 primary season is over with historic conventions to follow this summer. watch c-span as the delegates consider the nomination of the first woman ever to head a major political party, and the first nonpolitician in several decades. watch live on c-span, lis