October 8th, 2006 05:26 EST
Celebration highlights Hispanic Heritage Month
Bush Honors Hispanic Americans at White House Ceremony
Washington – With an audience that included the Crown Prince of Spain, Felipe de Borbón, senior U.S. officials, foreign ambassadors and Cuban‑American singer Ana Cristina, President Bush paid tribute to the contributions made by Hispanic Americans "to our country, our culture and our national character," at a White House celebration October 6.
The event was a highlight among many special programs, cultural events and other activities marking Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15. (See related article.)
"We welcome the diversity that enriches our lives, a diversity that makes America a stronger and better country," Bush said. "We are a blessed nation to have thousands of people who claim Hispanic heritage. I firmly believe that. I know that to be true."
In his remarks, Bush named several senior members of his administration that have Hispanic background, including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. Treasurer Anna Cabral.
Bush noted that Hispanic students are beginning to close the education gap in reading and mathematics, and pledged that "we will not rest until every child receives a quality education in our country."
Bush said that the immigration debate in the United States must be conducted in a manner that respects different cultures and heritages.
"We are a nation of law, and we will enforce our law," he said. "But at the same time, we must remember that in order to secure our borders, in order to make sure we fulfill our heritage, immigration reform must be comprehensive in nature." (See related article.)
Hispanic Americans are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States, with a population estimated at 42.7 million in 2005. Fourteen percent of Americans claim Hispanic origin, a figure expected to increase to nearly 25 percent by mid-century.
President Bush’s remarks at the White House Hispanic Heritage Month ceremony are available at the White House Web page.
For additional information see Hispanic Americans and Population and Diversity.