Statement of Hillary Clinton on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
"It is my immense pleasure to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month to recognize, honor and express gratitude to Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), who have been an integral part of our American story, helping build and strengthen America.
"For centuries, America has been enriched by our diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and by the contributions that Chamorros, Native Hawaiians, and Samoans have made in their ancestral homelands. We can see those contributions today in the national railroad system that many AAPIs helped to build as well as the many AAPI men and women who serve with honor in our United States Armed Forces today. The tradition of public service runs deep in the history of AAPIs in America. From Dalip Singh Saud, who was the first Asian American to serve in Congress, to the great Patsy Mink, the very first woman of color to ever serve in Congress, to Norman Mineta who was the first Asian American appointed by a President to serve as a Cabinet Secretary, AAPIs have served this country with honor and distinction. And it is not just the famous names and faces that have left a bold imprint on the fabric of our nation. Leaders of community based organizations, small business owners, and the growing number of AAPIs in public service demonstrate what is best and what is possible in America. I salute the contributions and sacrifices that AAPIs have made to ensure a better life for their families and for American society.
"The numerous accomplishments of the AAPI community, however, can mask the challenges that still exist for many - discrimination, language barriers, and poor access to quality, affordable health care. As Senator, I have worked with the AAPI community to promote policies that help meet the community's underserved needs. For example, I sponsored the Legal Immigrant Children's Health Improvement Act to restore access to health care for low-income legal immigrant women and children as well as the Access to Employment and English Acquisition Act to provide more job training funds for people with limited English skills.
"Although some AAPIs have reached the pinnacle of higher education, I am fully aware that others in the AAPI community continue to remain behind. For this reason, I have been a strong advocate for making college affordable and accessible. As Senator, I fought to increase the federal Pell Grant, which today covers only a third of tuition at an average public college and co-sponsored the DREAM Act, which makes it possible for hardworking young people to receive in-state tuition at state colleges. I also led the passage of legislation that will bring more qualified teachers into the classrooms and more outstanding principals to lead our schools.
"As we consider reform to our current broken immigration system, we must address issues like family reunification. Under our current system, families are separated for long periods of time, sometimes decades. Last year, during the debate on the comprehensive immigration reform, I offered an amendment to address the backlog of family visas. I will continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that brings families together.
"Let's be clear, while we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May, I will continue working to ensure that AAPIs are included at the table everyday and that the needs of the community are prioritized year-round. As we celebrate the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, let us all rededicate our efforts to creating better opportunities and brighter futures for all Americans."
Hillary Clinton, Statement of Hillary Clinton on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/291194