• President Biden confirmed almost at the last minute that he would attend the gala night of the Hispanic Caucus Institute in Congress, where he arrived in a good mood, joking and with his throat tuned to interpret “Happy Birthday” to Congresswoman Nanette Díaz

WASHINGTON, D.C.- President Joe Biden thinned his throat and began to sing “Happy Birthday” to Representative Nanette Díaz (California): “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday Nanette. Happy birthday to you. God bless you, little girl.”

His interpretation unleashed the first of the 24 series of applause that the attendees of the 45th gala of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) gave the president in a speech this Thursday at the Walter E. Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Other ovations occurred for various reasons, such as when Biden spoke about immigration and the need to approve protection for ‘Dreamers’ and other immigrants, after criticizing Republicans for using this population as a “political weapon”, after the governor in Florida, Ron DeSantis, will send 50 non-citizens, most of them Venezuelans who applied for asylum to Martha’s Yard, in Massachusetts, apparently under deception, according to the first reports.

“We have a process to manage migrants at the border. We’re working to make sure it’s safe, orderly and humane,” Biden defended. “Republican officials must not interfere with that process by performing these political stunts.”

He hoped there would be progress in the Senate to provide definitive protection for immigrants.

“Senate Republicans are long overdue for coming to the table and providing a path to citizenship for Dreamers, temporary workers, farmworkers and essential workers,” he said. “We need to modernize our laws, so businesses can get the workers they need and families don’t have to wait decades to be together. It’s time to do it.”

That sparked round 20 of the applause, which made him pause for a few seconds. The other 19 cheers occurred for various reasons, including the Inflation Reduction Law that will benefit Hispanics or Latinos with investments on different fronts, such as the environment, and health aid.

The hispanic dream

President Biden was also celebrated when he spoke of the need to “take roots in dreams”, when he cited the motto of the CHCI, when mentioning his cabinet, including the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, who received the Medallion of the Dream that night American 2022.

“My cabinet is here. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, tonight’s American Dream Medallion honoree,” Biden said. “Everyone here tonight embodies the same idea: rooting in the strength of achieving our dreams.”

Becerra had already honored, after which he spoke about his personal history, his family and his career as a public servant, both in Congress as attorney general in California and now as head of the Ministry of Health. He was introduced by Senator Alex Padilla (California).

“I look everywhere and I see myself surrounded by memories accumulated over the years in this place,” he said in a speech about the challenges, crying in the process of moving forward or “trying.” He thanked the distinction for the Medallion, awarded for his career and contributions to the community as a Latino leader.

Other leaders also took the floor, such as Representative Raúl Ruiz (California), president of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), who recalled his childhood in the Coachella Valley, where he lived with farmworkers and other Hispanics who strive daily . That motivated him to obtain his degree as a doctor, to return his knowledge to that community, help them, and now represent them before the Chamber.

“At the age of four, I made a promise to myself that one day I would become a doctor to serve this community that gave me so much,” he recalled.

From joke to strength

Representative Díaz, who had already given a speech, was responsible for introducing President Biden, who came making jokes and adding the detail of “Happy Birthday” to the congresswoman.

“Sit down, please, if you have a table,” the president joked before the almost 3,000 attendees. A source from the event said that when the president confirmed his attendance, the request for tickets to the gala increased considerably.

This also caused an intense road operation with the closure of the surrounding streets and an exhaustive review of the guests, most of them long dresses and tuxedos.

When President Biden gave his speech, dozens of attendees did not hear the organizers sit down, they wanted to see him as close as possible. At the end between the work of the staff and the Secret Service, people had to return to their seats.

The activist in civil rights and in favor of farmers, Dolores Huerta, was the finishing touch of the figures of the event. Her words were of encouragement and “strength”. She recognized the retirement of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and presented her with the 2022 Legacy Award.

The occasion was the closing of the CHCI congress, which trains young Hispanics on different fronts, including public administration and legislative processes.

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