Dreamers and other immigrants celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month

Dreamers, temporary protected status (TPS) recipients and immigration advocacy groups joined Microsoft to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month by ringing the Nasdaq stock exchange opening bell on June 5, 2019.

“We’re excited that you could all join us right here from the Crossroads of the World in Times Square New York as we get set to ring today’s opening bell,” David Wicks, Nasdaq vice president, said. “There is a lot to celebrate today…Enhancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace and marketplace is important to both Microsoft and Nasdaq, and we’re happy to celebrate this commitment through today’s opening bell.”

“Microsoft wanted to send a message to the business community across the nation that Dreamers and immigrants in general are such a positive and impactful contribution to not only the nation socially but economically as well,” said Arizona Dreamer Saul Rascon Salazar.

In honor of the accomplishments and role of immigrants in shaping the history and culture of the United States, the 113th Congress passed a House Resolution dedicating June as Immigrant Heritage Month.

“America has always been a nation of immigrants, and throughout the nation’s history, immigrants from around the globe have kept our workforce vibrant, our businesses on the cutting edge, and helped to build the greatest economic engine in the world,” stated the resolution. “As a nation of immigrants, we must remember the generations of pioneers that helped lay the railroads and build our cities, develop new industries and fuel our Information Age, from the telegraph to the smartphone.”

The group of immigrants was brought to New York City by Microsoft, Stand Together, the LIBRE Initiative, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and a broad range of other partners.

Carlos Alfaro, Arizona’s Coalitions Director–the LIBRE Initiative and AFP-AZ State Director Stephen Shadegg released a joint statement that said in part “while immigration is an important facet of our country and our state, our current system is outdated and in need of reform… Our fellow Arizonans seek an end to the uncertainty of our broken laws, and we look forward to helping relay their message.”

After ringing the opening bell, the group met with businesses and community leaders to discuss the ways in which immigrants help shape America and the limitations they face because of failures to reform immigration laws.

“It was really empowering knowing that such important people, such high profile businessmen and women were so actively involved in supporting me and my community,” Salazar, who attended the opening bell ceremony, said. “ I had an out-of-body experience seeing my[self] clapping in Times Square on the Times Square screen. I thought it was so empowering and I felt so confident like I was on top of the world.”

The day prior the House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act. A bill that would provide protections and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and TSP recipients as well as repeal restrictions that bar states from providing higher education benefits to undocumented immigrants.

“We commend the members of the House who voted to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, and we look forward to working with the Senate as it continues to address the issue of immigration reform. It is critical for both parties in both houses of Congress to come together on a path forward on immigration reform legislation,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley said.

Companies and organizations that collaborated in bringing immigrants to NYC included Microsoft, Facebook, National Immigration Forum, FWD.us, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and IBM.

“Today we are honored to join Dreamers and immigrants at Nasdaq to celebrate,” Rosanna Durruthy, head of global diversity, inclusion & belonging at LinkedIn, said. “We value the important role that immigrants have played and continue to play building great products and companies and creating economic opportunity globally. We’re a stronger and better company because of the diversity of our workforce, just as we are better and stronger as a country.”

Photo courtesy of Nasdaq

Emily Richardson

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