Remarks on Latino Policy in El Paso, Texas
Well good evening, y muy buenas tardes a todos.
I'm not going to let you get away with the hard work, it's true your Spanish may be better than mine, but that's okay.
Thank you for those kinds words Representative Blanco. You have given them exactly the way I wrote them. Seriously, he has been a leader on so many issues, including making sure our veterans have the mental health care they need. And I'm proud to have your support.
I also want to thank my friend Manny Diaz who is the former Mayor of Miami. He is co-chair of our campaign and also somebody that speaks better Spanish than I do. But I'm working at it, folks. I'm going to get there.
And how about Beto O'Rourke, I'm so glad he could drop in. It is hard to compete with the hometown favorite.
I am really glad to be in El Paso and adelante. This is a great city, with so much of the diversity, culture, and history that makes this country great. Not to mention, the tacos at Chico's. And of course, the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits at Whataburger. Not good for my waistline I just want you to know. Maybe I'll have one tonight after going out on Cincy.
Now obviously, while I am a big fan of El Paso, I know there's at least one person who doesn't feel the same way. His name has been mentioned here before: Donald Trump.
Now wait a second, at the Convention in Philadelphia in 2016 I told you that he was the wrong guy for the job. Why did we give it to him?
He held a rally here early last year and used it to attack immigrants living in this wonderful, diverse community.
Those attacks for him are nothing new. I don't know why it is that when President Trump talks about the Latino community, he never mentions all the immigrants who are doctors and engineers, police officers and teachers, business leaders and entrepreneurs, and veterans.
In fact, so many of our men and women in the military, who risk their lives for us, are of Latino background. You've seen that here in El Paso.
Only a few miles away from where we stand tonight, brave Latino men and women are preparing to serve our country at Fort Bliss. They are heroes, who really do deserve our respect and our gratitude.
But does President Trump ever talk about that? No.
Instead, he tries to convince Americans that there are too many Latinos living here – and he demonizes immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Trump has called them, believe it or not, criminals and rapists, and murderers and killers. He's called them animals.
And he's said our country is under invasion – and that we face an infestation.
An infestation? That's what they called Jews in Nazi Germany.
These are more than words. When the President of the United States uses his bully pulpit to fuel fear and hatred, white supremacists hear his language as an invitation to commit violence – and even as a license to kill.
So it's no surprise that hate crimes have soared over the course of his presidency. It's no wonder a recent poll showed a staggering 81 percent of Latino voters in Texas live in fear of a racially-motivated gun violence. And tragically, it's no coincidence that a racist drove more than 600 miles to come here and target Mexicans in a mass shooting that killed 22 people and wounded 24 more.
I went over this morning and I tied a ribbon on a temporary memorial, and I brought a small piece of a tree. It was a tree in the World Trade Center that survived the disaster, the rubble fell around it but not on it, and we saved the tree and we've grown it and we've cut sticks off of it that will regrow – and we brought one down here to be planted right here.
In his manifesto, the killer said his attack was, 'A response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.' There's that word again: 'Invasion.'
Well, words matter. And as you saw here in El Paso, words have consequences.
So let me speak these words, loudly and clearly: I am running to defeat Donald Trump and put the 'United' back in the United States of America.
The hatred coming from President Trump – and parroted by the El Paso attacker – doesn't define this city. And it doesn't define America.
No, America is defined by how we respond to hatred. And here in El Paso, you have led by example.
Earlier today, I met with survivors of the shooting, and I heard the story of Antonio Basco. As many of you know, his wife, Margie, was killed in the attack. They'd only moved to El Paso a few years earlier, so they didn't know many people here. And Antonio was worried he'd be the only person at Margie's funeral.
But when the people of this city heard Antonio's story, you came together to show what this city really stands for and you turned out by the hundreds.
That's El Paso, Mr. Trump. That's the America that you and I know and love. And that's the America we must win back in November.
I believe we can become a country that welcomes immigrants, values immigrants, respects immigrants, celebrates immigrants, and empowers immigrants to pursue the American dream.
That's what we did when I was mayor of New York, and that's what I will do as president.
Today, I'm releasing my plan to bring security – and a new path forward – to the 60 million Latinos who live in our country.
And by 'security,' I don't mean only physical security. I mean economic security. I mean housing security. I mean the security of knowing your kids will have a quality education, knowing you will be able to afford health care, and knowing you will be safe from climate change – which, make no mistake, is hitting Latinos hard as we've seen right here in Texas, not to mention places like Puerto Rico.
The policy I have outlined is long and comprehensive. If you want to read the whole thing, just go to MikeBloomberg.com. In this day and age you go there folks, you don't take paper. But I'd like to give you a little preview of what I would do as president to ensure every Latino can prosper in our country.
Our path forward starts by improving economic security, by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. That will help close the wage gap between Latinos and white Americans, which is especially stark for Latinas.
We'll also increase homeownership in the Latino community by providing down payment assistance and increasing access to capital. And we will double the number of Hispanic-owned businesses with employees by making it easier to start and grow a business.
We'll invest in public schools – so that every student gets a quality education no matter what zip code they live in. We'll make public colleges and universities free for every low-income student. We have to do something, folks. This world is becoming more demanding of a good education. You will live in poverty, unfortunately, probably for the rest of your life unless you get an education. But we know how to do it, we just have to have the courage to stand up and do it.
Our goal is to increase Latino college completion rates by 25 percent, and I know we can do that as well.
We'll make sure Latino American families have health insurance, because in the wealthiest country in the world, no one should ever be denied access to care.
Just as importantly, we will enact comprehensive immigration reform. And we will create a path to legalization and citizenship for the 11 million people living in the shadows.
This will be one of the top priorities during my first month in office. And I've got to tell you, after too many years of inaction, I want to make it clear: we will get it done.
On my very first day in office, I will end the cruelty of the Trump Administration.
Just think about what they have done: ripped children out of the hands of parents, allowed at least seven children who were in federal custody to die, locked kids in cages only miles from here in Clint, Texas where they faced chicken pox, rabies, lice, and scarlet fever. What kind of a country have we become?
The cruelty is just un-imaginable. It is un-American. And on my watch, it will end.
I will also put an end to ICE raids of businesses and round-ups of working people that are designed to intimidate and scare Latinos. We will focus deportations on the few violent criminals, not the many upstanding members of communities.
Our administration will also treat hate crimes as domestic terrorism and charge perpetrators accordingly.
We will launch a national, coordinated effort to crack down on violent extremists.
And we will finally enact common sense gun safety laws that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and that bans the sale of military-style weapons that can kill 22 people in a matter of minutes.
Gun violence, you should know, is not an issue that I just talk about. I've been working on this for almost two decades – as a mayor, and through my foundation.
After I left office, I helped start Everytown for Gun Safety. We've built it into a grassroots army with six million supporters. And the Moms Demand Action organization leads the way with stronger gun laws in more than 20 states already, and we're making progress.
But real change requires leadership in Washington. So in 2018, I supported Democratic congressional candidates across the country, like Lizzie Fletcher in Houston. She won her race and helped us flip the House, put Nancy Pelosi in charge, and now they're holding President Trump accountable.
Here's where you come in. The biggest reason we won those races was simple: we increased voter turnout. Republicans know that. That's why they've passed so many voter suppression laws that are designed to lower turnout – especially in the Latino community.
Until recently, listen to this, Texas ranked 50th – remember we have 50 states – it ranked 50th in voter participation, dead last.
As my friend Beto O'Rourke points out: Texas isn't a red state, it's a non-voting state.
Our campaign is working to change that by registering voters across the state, because make no mistake: we really can turn Texas blue in 2020.
So today I'm asking for your help, your support – and your vote. And I'm asking you to join our campaign for change, for sanity, honesty, inclusion, compassion, and human decency.
This is a campaign to build an America to be proud of, an America for all people – black, brown, white, urban, rural, suburban, gay, lesbian, transgender, and yes, immigrants.
Let me just take a couple minutes to talk about the general election campaign. Donald Trump has a campaign strategy: attack. The Democratic nominees hopelessly out of the mainstream. He wants to divide the country – I want to unite this country. And I'll start by beating Donald Trump.
Now I have a question for you, anyone hear the slogan Mike Will Get It Done? Well let me tell you what the 'it' is. As Mayor, I expanded health coverage in New York. As President, I will build on Obamacare because health care is a right.
In New York, we created 500,000 new jobs. As President, I will build an economy that delivers good jobs with higher wages.
I took on the gun lobby in New York, and I'm going to take on the gun lobby for the rest of my life, right here and all across America. And take on polluters and big utilities to combat climate change. And I'll stop Trump's assault on women's reproductive rights.
As President, I'll offer common sense workable plans, and I will get it done.
So let me leave you with this final thought: if you want quality health insurance for everyone, if you want to make college more affordable and relieve the crushing burden of student loans, if you support my commitment for quality education no matter what zip code you live in, if you share my belief in opportunity for all and not just for the few, if you are ready to defeat President Trump and the hatred he stands for, and if you are ready to clean out the Oval Office and get things done – then welcome to Bloomberg 2020.
Thank you – good night.
Michael Bloomberg, Remarks on Latino Policy in El Paso, Texas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/364408