He’s about to be the first Dominican American elected to Congress. And he was once undocumented. | Fusion

By Caitlin Cruz

State Senator Adriano Espaillat

State Senator Adriano Espaillat (Fusion/Michael Hull)

One of the first things New York State Sen. Adriano Espaillat remembers from coming to America at 9 years old was the lights. He, his brother and his mother landed in New York from Santiago, Dominican Republic, at night and they were mesmerized by the December snow and the lights.

“What was really impressive for me as a young boy was driving across the Triborough Bridge, seeing the city lit up,” Espaillat told me recently. “That was just an amazing sight. I still today remember what it looked like.”

When long-time Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel announced he wouldn’t seek reelection in the House’s 13th District of New York, Espaillat knew there would be an opening in the fight for the seat he originally sought in 2014. Now, after a hard-fought Democratic primary victory—which, in his overwhelmingly blue district, is widely expected to make for a general election shoo-in—I was visiting Espaillat’s Inwood, Manhattan office to meet the man who is poised to be the first previously undocumented member of Congress.

If he’s elected, Espaillat will also be the first afro-Latino and Dominican in Congress. He hopes to use that platform to open up government to all Latinx people—and show that Latinx people are a part of every facet of American life.

“It shows that we’re not all shortstops. We’re not pitchers,” he said. “I mean it because people perceive ethnic groups, racial groups in these very traditional stereotypes. We have a Pulitzer Prize winner, now we’re going to have a member of Congress. We have doctors and lawyers and we are one out of eight New Yorkers.”

Read more: He’s about to be the first Dominican American elected to Congress. And he was once undocumented. | Fusion

Related: Adriano Espaillat Tests the Role of Kingmaker After His Historic Primary Win | NY Times

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One Response to “He’s about to be the first Dominican American elected to Congress. And he was once undocumented. | Fusion”

  1. His voting attendance record sucks. His voting records on women’s rights sucks. He sucks. Any questions? At least he will not vote with the GOP. It’s a useless seat.

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