Chicago, Ill. — July 25, 2023
Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a keynote address at UnidosUS’ annual conference on Tuesday, condemning the recent actions by “extremists” targeting immigrants across the United States. In her speech, Harris labeled these efforts as “inhumane, outrageous, and un-American,” singling out specific incidents in Florida and Texas.
Addressing the audience at the conference, the Vice President expressed her concern over the passage of SB 1718 in Florida, a law that she described as designed to instill fear and apprehension among immigrant communities. Harris emphasized that the law may discourage individuals from seeking essential medical care at hospitals due to fears of deportation or family separation.
Furthermore, Harris highlighted reports of state authorities in Texas instructing troopers to deny water to migrants and forcibly pushing back children and pregnant women seeking asylum into the Rio Grande. The Vice President condemned these actions, calling them heartless and unacceptable.
“Across our nation, extremist so-called leaders demonize, target, and attack immigrants,” Harris stated, denouncing the actions that undermine the values of compassion and inclusivity that America stands for.
During her address, Vice President Harris also underscored the significance of coalition building while outlining the achievements of the Biden-Harris Administration. She credited the administration with creating 13 million new jobs, including 800,000 new manufacturing jobs. Harris celebrated the record low unemployment rate for Latinos and highlighted the investment in community banks to provide access to capital for small businesses, particularly praising Latinas, who have emerged as the fastest-growing group of small business owners in the country.
The Vice President also pointed to the administration’s efforts in lowering prescription drug prices, ensuring access to affordable medication for seniors, including those disproportionately affected by illnesses like diabetes within the Latino community.
Regarding immigration reform, Harris reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to protect and support immigrants and urged Congress to take action. She urged for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, individuals with Temporary Protected Status, and farmworkers, emphasizing that congressional action is vital.
On the topic of gun violence, Harris decried the lack of action from lawmakers in passing gun safety legislation. She highlighted the devastating impact of gun violence on communities, noting that Latino Americans are disproportionately affected by gun homicides.
Throughout her speech, Vice President Harris praised the strength of diversity in America, emphasizing that unity and collaboration are essential for advancing shared values and achieving progress.
The UnidosUS’ annual conference marked Vice President Harris’ latest large-scale event as she continues her summer travel to engage with constituencies across the country. Later this month, she is scheduled to address The NAACP National Convention in Boston, The African Methodist Episcopal Church Women’s Missionary Society Quadrennial Convention in Orlando, and Everytown’s Gun Sense University in Chicago.