On the hallowed floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA) channeled his heralded family forbearers to deliver an impassioned defense of immigrants – past and present.
The nephew of President John F. Kennedy used the backdrop of St. Patrick’s Day to compare the current plight of immigrant families in America with that of previous generations of immigrants.
He began by telling the story of a “…family I’ve come to know,” one that left the poverty of their native land for the “land of opportunity,” only to find themselves persecuted by many who didn’t want them here, who attacked them for their accents, their religion, and denied them basic rights and services. Then, he dropped a bombshell – exposing the hypocrisy of present-day immigrant-bashers in the process:
“Now, Mr. Speaker, I’m sure that there are ‘Garcias,’ or ‘Asgardis,’ or ‘Rodriguezes’ who share that same story, but the one I tell is not theirs. This family’s name is Kennedy.”
His speech included a harsh rebuke of President Trump’s words and actions on immigration policy, saying that today, “we face a threat unlike almost any other we’ve seen in recent history: A president who has built an entire campaign, and now an administration, on scapegoating immigrant families.”
“President Trump does not speak for all of us,” he added.
Before dropping the mic, he reminded congress how ominously similar the many recent GOP attacks on immigrants are to the ones his grandfather, then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, faced in 1964 when he advocated for immigrant rights and immigration reform:
“The opposition that he and other advocates faced half a century ago sound eerily familiar to so many of us today. ‘Immigrants who will flood our cities and towns, they will take American jobs. They will poison American culture. They aren’t from here. They aren’t like us. They are somebody else’s babies.’ 50 years later, the opposition still hasn’t updated their talking points.
To put it in Massachusetts terms, “How you like them Apples?”
You can hear Congressman Kennedy’s full speech here:
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.