NEW YORK – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer joined Cardinal Timothy Dolan and numerous union, civic and business leaders for a rally opposite the Statue of Liberty in Lower Manhattan on June 17 to urge the House of Representatives to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform in July.
A statement issued by Schumer’s office said the bill “strengthens our border, offers a hard-earned path to citizenship, reduces our deficit and provides a huge boost to New York City’s and the country’s economy.”
Schumer declared that “immigrants have always been the greatest engine of economic growth, innovation, and renewal that this country has ever had…And the bottom line is: in order for America to continue to be the greatest nation in the world, we must fix our broken immigration system.”
Speaking to Greek and Greek-American media after the rally he said “the more Greeks there are in New York, the better New York it. It would apply to the Cypriots also.”
Schumer added an amendment to the bill that will allow Greek nationals to apply for a visa to work in the United States to provide Greek language instruction and assistance to communities, educational institutions, and businesses.
“My middle name is Ellis,” he told TNH, “named after an uncle who was named after Ellis Island.” On his mother’s side he is a sixth-generation American, and “on my father’s side I’m third.”
Schumer said the purpose of the rally is to show “the broad support immigration has in New York and around America. There can’t be a more fitting setting than by the Statue of Liberty which for generations has stood for the fact that we want immigrants to come,” he said.
“The bill is bipartisan. I led the Democratic side, Senator John McCain led the Republican side. We don’t always see alike on issues, but we came together on this bill,” he said.
“We are here to make a final plea to the House of Representatives to pass this bill. They know it’s the right thing to do substantively and politically,” Schumer said, noting with the bill’s broad support, candidates should not fear the Tea Party.