Even as immigration remains in the headlines, the dean of the Florida congressional delegation launched a new caucus “to celebrate the growing number of new Americans serving in the United States Congress."
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., joined U.S. Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., to announce the formation of the New Americans Caucus
“The group, comprised of first-generation immigrants, will provide a forum to inform all members of Congress about the issues affecting new Americans and an opportunity to discuss how immigrants help strengthen the fabric of America,” the new caucus announced.
Ros-Lehtinen, currently the chairwoman of the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee and formerly the chairwoman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, explained why she was part of the new group.
“As the first Hispanic woman to be elected to serve in Congress, I am honored to launch the New Americans Caucus along with Norma to highlight the important contributions that naturalized citizens have brought to the halls of Congress and also to our great nation,” said Ros-Lehtinen. “Becoming a U.S. citizen is a high privilege that has allowed me to serve my constituents in South Florida. Our country was founded by immigrants and will continue to be strengthened by new Americans.”
“Through this new caucus, we hope to show the important roles that first generation immigrants play not only in the U.S. Congress but throughout this entire country and to encourage other new Americans to get involved and become leaders in their communities,” said Torres. “It wasn’t until California’s divisive, anti-immigrant Proposition 187 that I realized how important it is to become naturalized and take full advantage of my rights in this country that had become my only home. Taking that step gave me the life-changing opportunity to be a voice for my community and to have a seat at the table where decisions impacting Californians and all Americans are made.”
Ros-Lehtinen was born in Cuba and her family fled the Castro regime as it took over that nation. Torres was born in Guatemala and her family moved to the United States when she was five.
So far, Ros-Lehtinen is the only Republican in the new caucus. The other members are Democratic U.S. Reps. Salud Carbajal and Ted Lieu of California, Adriano Espaillat of New York, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Ruben Kihuen of Nevada, Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Albio Sires of New Jersey.
READ MORE FROM SUNSHINE STATE NEWS