This Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s reflect on the rich history, contributions of Latino Americans
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My parents instilled in me early the value of hard work and dedication to the job at hand. They left their home in Guanajuato, Mexico, behind, and immigrated to the United States to provide a better life and greater opportunity for their family.

Today, I am proud to be among the 55 million Latinos living in America; part of a large and vibrant diaspora that has strengthened this nation through strong work ethic, entrepreneurship and service in their individual communities.

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During Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the contribution of Latinos in America. From political leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, who fought to strengthen our labor laws for farmworkers, like my father, to public servants including Sonya Sotomayer and her historic appointment to the Supreme Court, Latinos have had a profound positive impact on our country.

While this month is meant to celebrate our unique heritage and contributions to the American mosaic, the Latino community is under threat, as President Trump announced he is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program has given nearly 800,000 young men and women, who came here as children, a shot at the American dream, allowing them to live, work and learn in the United States legally and without fear of deportation.

I share a similar story as many of these “Dreamers.” I immigrated to the United States with my parents as a five-year-old boy. This country has since given me the opportunity to work hard, raise my two children and serve my country in local government, our military and in Congress. Terminating DACA and stripping Dreamers of that same hope and opportunity is unconscionable and incompatible with our American values.

Congress must now act and pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a permanent legislative solution that allows Dreamers to remain in the U.S. and contribute to our nation’s future. They are our neighbors, our children’s classmates and our friends. Dreamers are hard-working and law-abiding people who put their trust in the American government — we cannot turn our backs on them.

From the misguided and wasteful proposition that a southern border wall will solve our immigration problems to the stunning pardoning of Sherriff Joe Arpaio, this president has shown his willingness to condone xenophobic and discriminatory actions toward Latinos.

To date, President Trump has not sought to improve our badly broken immigration process or aid immigrant communities, but rather has made life in the United States more difficult for immigrant families.

When I came to this country with my family, it was through a system that worked. Congress has not made any adjustments to our broken immigration system in 30 years; it is clearly in need of repair. We need a comprehensive, long-term immigration solution to boost our economy, reduce our deficit and help our country move forward.

My district on the central coast of California is home to a large Latino population that is engaged in helping our neighborhoods prosper. I am proud to represent and partner with our diverse district, to fight divisive executive action and legislation that does not work toward productive compromise.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month could not have come at a more opportune time in our political climate. As we take this time to recognize the rich culture, history and contributions of Latino Americans, I hope we also pay attention to the difficulties facing our community. This Hispanic Heritage Month, we must all unite and redouble our resolve to resist efforts to alienate, marginalize and criminalize the Latino community.

I am a proud American and proud of my Latino heritage. My life experience has made me a more compassionate and informed public servant. I look forward to working with my colleagues in both parties to promote legislation that builds on the progress we have made in embracing diversity and expanding opportunity for all our country. 

Carbajal represents California’s 24th District.


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.