Photo: YURI GRIPAS / POOL / EFE
President Joe Biden marked Cinco de Mayo on Thursday by honoring the impact Mexican Americans and other immigrant communities have had on the United States. with a party at the White House with the first lady of Mexico as the guest of honor.
Biden also shared a message of recognition on social media: “Today, on Cinco de Mayo, we celebrate the legacy of Mexican courage and resilience. I am grateful for the incredible contributions of generations of Mexican Americans who served in our military, explored outer space, fed our nation, and created countless jobs.”
Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, wife of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obradorjoined Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for the reception in the Rose Garden, which featured tables covered in orange, blue, lime green and other festive colors.
“We are a nation of immigrants. We say that, but people act as if they don’t believe it.” said Biden, who briefly left the podium to personally greet Gutiérrez Müller. “That is our strength.”
Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller shared this video of the Cinco de Mayo party on YouTube:
During the celebration of Cinco de Mayo, the president urged legislators to pass immigration reform that he sent to Congress in his first week in office and it’s still stuck.
Biden said that if immigration reform does not pass, action could still be taken on smaller initiatives to protect immigrants and that they have bipartisan support, including protecting people brought to the United States illegally as children, the Dreamers.
Nearly 100 guests ate tacos, tamales, empanadas, ceviche, jicama and watermelon salad, as well as chocolate-dipped churros. Margaritas on the rocks, beer and other beverage options were also served, while a chef mashed avocados to make guacamole in a large molcajete.
The day marks Mexico’s triumph on May 5, 1862 over the French at the Battle of Puebla, where Mexican soldiers pushed back Napoleon III’s forces despite being outnumbered.
Cinco de Mayo has become more popular in the United States than in much of Mexico.. It provides Mexican Americans with an opportunity to celebrate Mexican heritage, but the day is also heavily promoted for commercial purposes by beer and snack companies.
US presidents of both parties have celebrated Cinco de Mayo by highlighting the contributions of Mexican Americans, an increasingly powerful voting bloc.
The exception was President Donald Trump, whose campaign promise before being elected in 2016 was to close the entire border between the United States and Mexico.
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