Sen. Omar AquinoCHICAGO – During an argument that broke out on the Congressional House floor on Thursday, Congressman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) yelled, “go back to Puerto Rico,” while Congressman Tony Cárdenas, a descendant of Mexican immigrants, was presiding over the chamber.

Congressman Cárdenas recently led a delegation to meet with Puerto Rican officials and bring awareness to the amount of help still needed for the island to recover from Hurricane Maria.

Illinois State Senator Omar Aquino reacted to the incident with the following statement:

“I commend Congressman Cárdenas for his work in bringing awareness to the needs of Puerto Rico at a time where they are being ignored by the Trump administration for a $5 billion wall to be built under the guise of public safety. He is being attacked for doing the people’s work and reminding people that Puerto Ricans are citizens and Congress has a responsibility to take care of all Americans.

“Many parts of Puerto Rico are still without running water and electricity, and their public safety is just as important as Congressman Smith’s constituents.

“I call on House GOP lawmakers to abandon their mission to defund FEMA when thousands of Americans are still in desperate need of help.”