Antonio Villaraigosa on Immigration



Latino heritage is part of our American heritage

Antonio Villaraigosa, in the first major policy address since opening his gubernatorial bid and Donald Trump's victory, skewered the Republican president's tough approach to immigrants while expressing an abiding pride for his own Mexican heritage. "We are Americans first and foremost, but if anyone wants to make our Mexican heritage an issue, we will not shy from that. We embrace our Latino heritage as every bit a part of our American heritage," Villaraigosa said in the speech, rebuking Trump's rhetoric and policies toward Latinos and offering a potential rallying point for the state's largest ethnic group.

But at the gathering of the California Latino Economic Institute in Sacramento, the former Los Angeles mayor stressed that he's never run as "the Latino" candidate or served as a "Latino" elected official. He used the 23-minute speech to lay the groundwork for a candidacy focused on extending economic opportunity to every corner of the state.

Source: Sacramento Bee on 2018 California gubernatorial race , Feb 1, 2017

Immigration reform is an economic and moral imperative

Q: The White House is planning a big push on immigration. Your thoughts?

VILLARAIGOSA: The time is now. We can't wait another political season to pass comprehensive immigration reform. This isn't just a moral, it's an economic imperative. If we bring these people, 11 million people from out of the dark and into the light, it's about a $1.5 trillion impact to the U.S. economy. The "dreamers" alone, a $329 billion impact. We can't do this piecemeal and we can't have second class citizenship. This has to be a pathway to full citizenship.

Q: Who are the first people that ought of get citizenship? You're talking about the kids in the DREAM Act?

VILLARAIGOSA: Obviously the people who become citizens first are the people who have been in line, after they've had a full background check, paid their back taxes. We've got to do this in a way that gives all of these people an opportunity to be full citizens of the United States of America.

Source: Face the Nation 2013 on 2014 California gubernatorial race , Jan 13, 2013

Approves of undocumented students receiving financial aid

Today, California invests in the dreams of talented undocumented students and in the economic future of our state. I applaud Governor Brown for signing AB 131 into law and affirming the students' role in creating a bright and prosperous future for California. With California facing a deficit of one million college graduates by 2025, this law makes the most sense for our economy and society.
Source: 2011 L.A. Mayoral press release #015678 , Oct 8, 2011

AZ immigration law is unpatriotic & unconstitutional

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he supports a boycott of Arizona by the city of Los Angeles, and he called that state's newly passed immigration law "unpatriotic and unconstitutional." "No person should be treated differently in the eyes of the law." The mayor said boycotts have worked in the past and cited the city's divestiture from South Africa in the 1980s to protest apartheid.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Boycott over Crackdown" , Apr 29, 2010

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Other big-city mayors on Immigration: Antonio Villaraigosa on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Mar 25, 2021