WASHINGTON – A Republican former congressman and a Democrat who was housing secretary under President Bill Clinton after serving as mayor of San Antonio received Monday in Washington Mexico’s Ohtli Award in recognition of their work in defending Mexicans in the United States.
As part of the Cinco de Mayo celebration marking the 151st anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, Mexican Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora noted the work of Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Henry Cisneros in promoting the rights plus the political and social development of the Hispanic population.
Both men have been “stalwart defenders of the many contributions that immigrants bring to this country and the need for a comprehensive immigration reform that is fair, humane, and that can create growing prosperity for our region.”
“Time is upon us, and we have to honor the tenacity of leaders like Henry, Lincoln, like many of you right here in this room, like many unsung heroes that work tirelessly to make better lives for themselves, their families and their communities,” Medina Mora said.
Upon accepting the prize, Diaz-Balart, who represented a South Florida district from 1993-2011, said that Mexican immigrants, “through their worthy labor, enrich the United States and honor Mexico.”
For his part, Cisneros said that the contributions of Hispanics are “absolutely critical for the future of the United States,” and repeated the urgent need for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
The ceremony was held at the Mexican Cultural Institute with the presence of the head of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad, Arnulfo Valdivia, members of the U.S. Congress and activists who promote immigration reform. EFE