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On Thursday, April 7, 2011, Immigrants’ List presented the third annual Michael Maggio Award to U.S. Senator Robert “Bob” Menendez (D-NJ) in recognition of his tireless commitment to improving the lives of immigrants throughout the United States.
“Bob Menendez’s life is an all-American story. He’s the son of immigrants and grew up in a tenement building in Union City, NJ. From those humble beginnings, he has worked hard, risen to become a United States Senator, and fought to improve the lives of all Americans,” said Immigrants’ List founder and board member Ted Ruthizer. “Bob Menendez has never forgotten who he is and where he came from. That’s why he’s been a tireless fighter for immigrants: he understands that every person is capable of great things. He has lived the American Dream, and fights for every American to have that same opportunity.”
Since 1993, Bob Menendez has been standing up for New Jersey families in Washington, where he rose to become the third-highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives before joining the U.S. Senate in 2006, where he has again taken on a prominent leadership role. In 2006 and 2007, he was a key negotiator on immigration legislation, and continues to advocate for policies that secure our borders, provide a path to earned legalization for undocumented immigrants, ensure families are unified, allow students to earn permanent residence status through the DREAM Act, and make sure there are consequences for employers who violate our laws. He was instrumental in passing a bill to protect immigrant widows and orphans in 2009, recently introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010, and has authored six other pieces of immigration legislation.
Established in 2008, the Immigrants’ List Michael Maggio Award is conferred annually upon a Member of Congress who has shown – in word and deed – their commitment to advancing the interests of immigrants in the United States. It is named in memory of Michael Maggio, a cofounder of Immigrants’ List and an attorney whose 30-year career displayed an unflagging commitment to human rights, justice, and equal protection under the law. Michael died in 2008. Past recipients of the award include Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) in 2009, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) in 2010.