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PR- 257-13
July 26, 2013


The following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered today at the Faith and Politics Institute’s ‘Becoming America Congressional Pilgrimage’ at Gracie Mansion:

“Good morning. Joining me today are Congressman Joe Crowley, who does not need any introduction – when they always say that about me I always get annoyed, give him an introduction, he’s actually a big deal – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, and Liz McCloskey, who’s President and CEO of the Faith and Politics Institute.

“And the city is lucky enough to have been hosting them and having a very nice breakfast here at Gracie Mansion as part of our ‘Becoming America’ Congressional ‘pilgrimage’ to New York, or their pilgrimage.

“The Faith and Politics Institute has brought more than 15 members of the House and also Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono to our city this weekend. Based in Washington, DC, the Institute is a bipartisan, inter-faith organization that encourages our nation’s leaders to rise above narrow partisanship and find common ground in strengthening our democracy. That includes a focus on immigration.

“We did talk about immigration over breakfast here, and it will be the subject of the delegation’s next several days in our city. Given that 40 percent of New Yorkers are immigrants – and that our city remains the leading entry point to the U.S. for those coming here from other lands – I think that is only fitting. And that focus is also fitting, given that action on immigration reform has reached such a critical, urgent moment in Congress.

“Now is the time for reform. America needs a modern immigration system that welcomes the entrepreneurs and the hard workers that will grow our nation’s economy and create jobs and keep us competitive on a world’s stage.

“I think it’s fair to say we’ve never been closer to achieving that goal, but it’s like jumping 95 percent of the way across the Grand Canyon – unless you jump 100 percent it’s all for not and we’ve got to make sure that Washington hears us and understands that we just have to pass reform this year.

“As I pointed out over breakfast a few minutes ago, immigrants really do make a huge impact on our economy. New York City is a city of immigrants. Almost half the small business owners in our city are immigrants. Immigrant workers generate close to a third of our city’s gross city product. And they’re more than half our city’s registered and practical nurses, nearly half of our doctors and surgeons, and 60 percent of homeowners here.

“And New York’s story, incidentally, is not unique. Across the US, immigrants are named on roughly three-fourths of the patents granted at top technical universities. Nationwide, immigrants start more than a quarter of new businesses. And because of immigrant homebuyers, the value of housing in our nation has increased by something like $4 trillion since 1970.

“Immigrants really are the key to the future of New York – and to the prosperity of our nation. I was asked why some of the numbers are so good here compared to other parts in the country, and every place they mentioned, ‘Oh, the comparison is so stark,’ those are not what we would call immigrant friendly places. They weren’t lucky enough to have the value of people coming here, starting businesses, taking the jobs that nobody else wants and working their way up the ladder.

“So this is a big thing for this country, big thing for New York, and I will turn now things over to Congressman Joe Crowley, and he as much as anybody understands what makes New York work, and that is immigrants.”


Marc LaVorgna   (212) 788-2958


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