Nearly a third of the 1,500 appointments President Biden has made to political jobs in the federal government have gone to immigrants or their children, the president said Tuesday as he proclaimed June to be National Immigrant Heritage Month.
Mr. Biden also used the opportunity to blast his predecessor and the “all-too-frequent demonization of immigrants” he said the country is now emerging from.
The proclamation comes at a time when Mr. Biden is trying to create space for Congress to pass a broad amnesty for millions of immigrants who are in the country illegally, granting them reprieve from deportation and a pathway to citizenship.
“From day one, I promised that my Administration would reflect the full diversity of our Nation — and today, nearly one-third of my Administration’s 1,500 political appointees are naturalized U.S. citizens or children of immigrants,” Mr. Biden said in his proclamation.
That is more than the population as a whole. The Migration Policy Institute figures about a quarter of the U.S. population is immigrants and their U.S.-born children.
Among those is Vice President Kamala Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants. In addition, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is an immigrant from Cuba.
Mr. Biden said immigrants have been among the core essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and have suffered a disproportionate number of illnesses from it.
He did not draw distinctions between those who came legally and those who came illegally in his proclamation, but he did call for action on his amnesty proposal.
“My plan would provide a pathway to lawful permanent residency and citizenship for these undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers, individuals with Temporary Protected Status, farm workers, and other essential workers who contribute to our Nation every day,” Mr. Biden said.
Former President Barack Obama also celebrated June as Immigrant Heritage Month. There’s no record of any similar proclamation by former President Donald Trump.