By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 23, 2017: We continue our celebration of National Caribbean American Heritage Month and the contribution of Caribbean immigrants to the fabric of the American society, with a spotlight on the Caribbean-born, and Caribbean-roots lawmakers of the US Congress. They are:
Congressman Adriano D. Espaillat Cabral
Congressman Adriano D. Espaillat Cabral, 62, is the first Dominican Republic-born US Congressmember. The Democratic lawmaker was elected just this January to represent New York’s 13th congressional district, which was previously represented by the retired Congressman Charles Rangel. Espaillat is also the first formerly undocumented immigrant to ever serve in Congress. He was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic and describes himself as “a Latino of African descent.” He served as a member of the New York State Senate and as a member of the New York State Assembly. Espaillat now serves as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the Select Committee on Small Business in Congress. He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and was appointed as Chairman of the CHC Task Force for Transportation, Infrastructure and Housing.
Congressman Albio B. Sires
Democratic Congressman Albio B. Sires, 66, was born in Bejucal, Cuba and immigrated to the United States with his family at age 11 with the help of relatives in the U.S. He is currently the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 8th congressional district, serving since 2006. The district, includes most of northern and eastern Jersey City, as well as most of the Latino neighborhoods of Newark. Sires has voted with the Democratic Party 93% of the time since joining Congress and is a member of the Congressional Cuba Democracy Caucus. He is seen as a “champion of mass transit” and supports federal funding for public transportation projects, believing that these will ultimately help his constituents. Congressman Sires sits on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Foreign Affairs. He previously represented district 33 in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2000 to 2006.
Congressman Raúl Rafael Labrador
Congressman Raúl Rafael Labrador, 50, was born in Puerto Rico and has represented Idaho’s 1st congressional district since 2011. The Republican lawmaker has made headlines for controversial comments including saying this May that: “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” He was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico but relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, as a child and graduated from Las Vegas High School in 1985. He attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and spent two years as a Mormon missionary in Chile, from 1987 to 1989. Labrador is currently a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)
He was a member of the “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of House members working on immigration reform legislation, but on June 5, 2013, he left the negotiations because he wanted language in the bill requiring that undocumented immigrants be responsible for their own health care costs. He sits on the Committees on the Judiciary and Natural Resources.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, 65, was born in Havana, Cuba and was the first Cuban American and Latina elected to Congress. She is currently the most senior U.S. Representative from Florida, representing Florida’s 27th congressional district and one of few foreign-born Republican lawmakers in Congress. She has voted with her party in 87.6 percent of votes in the 115th United States Congress and voted in line with President Trump’s position in 71.4 percent of the votes. But she opposed President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail Muslim immigration until better screening methods are devised.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen plays a prominent role in the Cuban-American lobby, which puts pressure on the Cuban government to bring about political change in Cuba. This is her last year in congress as she has announced that she would not be running for re-election in 2018.
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, is the daughter of Jamaican immigrants and is widely recognized as THE Caribbean American Congress member in the US Congress, speaking up for Caribbean issues. The Brooklyn-born lawmaker, 52, represents the 9th Congressional District of New York, home of many Caribbean immigrants. She currently serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Committee on Small Business, and the Ethics Committee. She is At-Large member of the Congressional Black Caucus Executive Committee and serves as Co-Chair of the Caribbean Caucus, where she has works to build the relationship between the United States and the Caribbean community (CARICOM) on matters of trade, immigration reform, and direct investment through development programs.
Prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Clarke served on the New York City Council, representing the Fortieth District in Brooklyn.
Congresswoman Mia Love
Congresswoman Ludmya Bourdeau “Mia” Love, 41, is the first Haitian American, the first black female Republican in Congress and the first Black American to be elected to Congress from Utah. She was born in Brooklyn, NY to Haitian parents who fled political oppression.
She has represented Utah’s 4th congressional district since 2014. Love sits on the House Financial Services Committee and is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Love is pro-life; supports gun rights and holds a concealed weapons permit and supports Utah’s effort to reclaim public land from federal agency controls. But she is no Donald Trump supporter. In 2016 she issued a statement that she would not vote for Trump and urged him to withdraw from the race for the good of the party and the country. She has, however, voted along Party lines to repeal Obama Care. Love was formerly the Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, serving from 2010 to 2014 and was previously on its city council.
Senator Kamala Harris
Freshman Democratic Senator from California, Kamala Devi Harris’ roots to the Caribbean comes from her Jamaican-born father, Donald Harris. The Oakland-born Harris, 52, is only the second African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate in history. Harris’ serves on the Committees on the Budget, Intelligence, Environment and Public Works and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. She has hit the ground running as a fierce critic of Trump and the Republicans as well as a major advocate for immigrants. On Thursday, urged Senate Appropriators to decrease funding for Donald Trump’s deportation force and detention beds as part of the FY18 budget, and that no funds be authorized for a costly and unnecessary border wall. Senator Harris also made headlines for her tough prosecutorial questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and has blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the GOP’s health care bill. She previously served as the 32nd Attorney General of California and was the first woman, the first Jamaican American, the first Asian American, the first Indian American, and the first African American to serve as attorney general there.