New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered the commencement address at UPenn, noting that accepting immigrants is one of our nation’s greatest historic strengths. Here is what he had to say at the Ceremony:
Let me ask everyone here who can trace their families back to the Mayflower to raise their hands. Congratulations, you are related to America’s first immigrants. And the rest of us are the descendants of immigrants, too.
“And the word I was thinking of, the key to innovation is immigration. Our nation’s greatest historic strength is that we’ve always welcomed the best and brightest from every corner of the globe. eBay, Google, Levi’s, Budweiser, they were all started by immigrants. It’s the story of New York, and it’s the story of Penn – which has the highest percentage of international students in the Ivy League.
“And yet every year, Congress shuts the door to hundreds of thousands of doctors, scientists, engineers, and artists from around the world who want to work here. It’s the greatest case of national self-sabotage and attempted suicide I can imagine. If our country’s future is going to be as great as our past, we have to start realizing that immigrants have always been – and always will be – one of our greatest economic and cultural assets.
“And that’s not a bad message to end with today. I have no doubt that the amazingly diverse experiences you’ve had at Penn are going to help you achieve great things. Some of you are going on to graduate school. Some of you are heading into the job market starting tomorrow morning.