The sixth annual National Immigrant Integration Conference was a huge success! Several powerful leaders joined over 600 immigrant integration practitioners to discuss strengthening immigrant rights and making America more inclusive, including U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Pérez. Pérez addressed NIIC 2013 on November 18th during a lively plenary on the Transformational Power of Reform.
Pérez serves as the nation’s 26th Secretary of Labor, and was sworn in on July 23, 2013. Previously, Pérez served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice and as Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. In 2002, he became the first Latino ever elected to the Montgomery County Council.
Pérez told NIIC 2013 participants:
“We will pass immigration reform, because the President and his cabinet members remain unfailingly committed to this issue. And you remain unfailingly committed to this issue.There are no less than 11 million reasons why we need immigration reform. This is the first order of business for President Obama. We know that change doesn’t come from Washington it comes to Washington.”
As a son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Pérez emphasized that we need to building ladders of opportunity for immigrant and American workers, telling Univision:
“On Monday, I had the privilege of addressing the National Immigrant Integration Conference in Miami, Fla., and I drew on those two lessons as I reflected on the integration of our immigrant communities in the United States. As we celebrate the progress we’ve made, we must recommit ourselves to continuing the path forward and fulfilling that basic bargain of America: that no matter who you are, or what you look like or where you come from, you can make it if you try.”
The Partnership is proud to have powerful leaders and policymakers like Pérez standing with us fighting for the rights of immigrants and creating a stronger future for New Americans.