Governor Cuomo: "We formed a nation by saying we welcome all. Come here. No matter what race, what color, what creed, what income level, what education level, you come here and we'll give you opportunity and you can join us."
VIDEO of the Governor's remarks is available in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.
A transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below.
The President of the United States made some remarks last night that I will not repeat. It's not usual that you can't repeat what the President of the United States says, but there are children in the room and it would disrespect my office as Governor. But anyone who believes that this country is about keeping people out doesn't understand what this country is all about. They have a short, short memory and they never really understood what made America great in the first place.
What made America great, because we were unique. We were not of one race, we were not of one religion. We formed a nation by saying we welcome all. Come here. No matter what race, what color, what creed, what income level, what education level, you come here and we'll give you opportunity and you can join us. And it worked extraordinarily well. Look around this room, look around the county, look around the state, we're all from different places. And nobody came here rich and powerful. If you were rich and powerful you stayed where you were. You didn't come here. People who came here were the poor, the huddled masses.
It was Emma Lazarus's words on the Statue of Liberty. That's who came. And they came with the clothes on their back but a desire in their heart to do better, and the promise in this country was you could do better here. And that's everyone's story. My grandfather came, was a ditch digger. He called it a ditch digger because he didn't like to say he really dug the trenches for sewer pipes. How fitting, with what the President said, isn't it ironic? And he had a son who went on to become Governor of the State of New York, and his son became Governor of the State of New York, and that's the story of America. Over and over and over. Come here, poor, uneducated, but with a desire to work and improve and you can do it, and we will work with you to do it. That's America. It was summed up by our Founding Fathers in three words, e pluribus unum. E pluribus unum. Founding Fathers stitched it on the seal of the United States. It's on the flag that stands behind the President's desk. E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. Out of many, one. Look how brilliant they were. Let's remember who we are and where we came from and why we came and how far it has brought us. And today in Suffolk County it has brought us to the first African American Sheriff in the history of Suffolk County and that is progress.