Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, yesterday spoke at a Champions of Change event at the White House to honor those who have helped immigrants to navigate the often-complex process of naturalization. The mayor also called for the implementation of comprehensive immigration reform, according to Jon Baird of KNX 1070.
The ceremony was held to pay homage to the work of honorees, including the Service Employees International Union-United Services Workers West president David Huerta of Los Angeles. Huerta has been working to create an integration program for immigrants, which includes providing union members with English classes. Also honored were three executives from Miami-Dade and others from California, New York and Ohio.
Garcetti says that countries that lack immigrants have also been suffering economically and that this is a fact that needs to be recognized by more Americans. “Japan, they’re struggling to look at how they are going to pay for the benefits for retiring seniors in an aging population,” Garcetti claims. “It is the influx of immigrants that is the future of our economy.”
The final day of the mayor’s visit to Washington will be spent meeting with ambassadors from Japan and South Korea and staff and cabinet members, among others. In November Garcetti will travel to China, Japan and South Korea – the top three trading partners of Los Angeles – to meet with business leaders and government officials to promote tourism, while also encouraging firms to invest in Los Angeles.