|In 1992, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard became the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress. She has distinguished herself throughout her congressional career as a dedicated advocate for the dignity and well-being of all Americans. The congresswoman is the first Latina to serve as one of the 12 “cardinals,” or chairs, of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as the first Latina to serve on the House Appropriations Committee. She is also the first woman to chair the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; the first woman to chair the California Democratic congressional delegation; and the founder of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform.
Congresswoman Roybal-Allard is an original co-author of The Dream Act, which would allow certain U.S.-raised immigrant youth to earn lawful permanent residence and eventual American citizenship. In 2019, she introduced the newest version of this bill: HR 6, The Dream and Promise Act. Her Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act, which tests newborns for treatable genetic disorders, has helped to save the lives of thousands of babies. Her Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking (STOP) Act has been instrumental in reducing underage drinking and its consequences. From her position on the House Appropriations Committee, she has spearheaded many federal projects that have created jobs and improved the lives of her constituents, including the new federal courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles, the Metro Gold Line Lightrail Eastside Extension, the deepening of the Port of Los Angeles, and the ongoing revitalization of the Los Angeles River.
As chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, the congresswoman continues to fight to ensure our homeland security personnel have the resources and guidance they need to keep our country safe against all threats, manmade and natural, and to treat immigrants humanely and with dignity and respect. She advocates for fair and just bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform which focuses on deporting those who threaten national security, and better secures our borders. She is also fighting for investments in the Coast Guard’s air and marine fleets, including much-needed funding for its first heavy icebreaker in 40 years.
The congresswoman has been at the forefront of the fight to improve the quality and affordability of health services, and has successfully secured funding for local needs including infant and child care, prenatal health, dental care, HIV testing, substance abuse, diabetes treatment, and telehealth services. She has been equally successful in obtaining federal dollars for local education and labor projects, including job training and placement services, arts and vocational education, afterschool care, early education, magnet schools, and English literacy programs. She also ranks highly as a vocal congressional supporter of veterans, the rights of women and children, civil liberties, and animal rights.
In addition to chairing the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard serves in many other positions:
• Vice chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees federal funding for public education, workforce training, health care initiatives, and related agencies.
• Member of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, to which Speaker Pelosi appointed her in 2019.
• Founding co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care.
• Vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Aging and Families. (Formerly the Congressional Task Force on Seniors)
• Member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC).
• Member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).
• Member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
• Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).
• Member of the Democratic Leader’s Council.
Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s accomplishments include:
Creating Jobs for the 40th Congressional District and Greater Los Angeles
• From her position on the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard has spearheaded many federal projects that have created jobs for the residents of the 40th District and Greater Los Angeles. These projects have included:
o The new federal courthouse for the Central District of California, Los Angeles Division.
o Building the Metro Gold Line Lightrail Eastside Extension to provide safe reliable transit.
o Deepening the Port of Los Angeles to increase jobs and international trade.
o Repairing and maintaining sewer and water systems.
o Preserving historic structures and cultural facilities.
• She is also a longtime leader in the federal effort to revitalize the Los Angeles River by reconnecting it to our communities, and turning what is currently a concrete flood control channel into beautiful green space for Angelenos to enjoy. This important project will create jobs, offer new economic and recreational opportunities, and restore the fragile native ecosystems along the river, all while maintaining the river’s critical functions of flood control and flood prevention.
Increasing the Fairness of Our Immigration System and Protecting Our Homeland
• As chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, the congresswoman plays a leading role in overseeing federal funding for immigration processing, border and port security, aviation security, cybersecurity, the Secret Service, and emergency preparedness. She is committed to ensuring that the Department of Homeland Security has the funding and resources it needs to protect our country.
• She is an original co-author of The Dream Act, which would allow certain U.S.-raised immigrant youth, known as “Dreamers,” to earn lawful permanent residence, and eventually American citizenship. She has introduced the newest version of this bill as HR 6, The Dream and Promise Act, which includes protections and a path to citizenship not just for Dreamers, but for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries as well.
• She has authored or co-authored several bills to support humane treatment of immigrant families and children. These include The Protect Family Values at the Border Act, to require basic humane treatment standards for immigrants in Customs and Border Protection custody; The Help Separated Families Act, to help keep children of detained or deported parents united with their families; The Child Trafficking Victims Protection and Welfare Act, to expand protections for vulnerable children in the custody of Customs and Border Protection; and The HELP Separated Children Act, to protect the safety and well-being of minor children who have been left alone and vulnerable following the arrests or detainment of their parents by U.S. immigration authorities.
• She has led legislation to establish the first-ever official commission to study the Mexican Repatriation of the 1930s, and recommend appropriate legislative remedies.
• As founder of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform, the congresswoman brought together a bipartisan group of congressmembers who work with nonprofit advocacy groups to address the specific needs of immigrant women as part of immigration reform.
• The congresswoman successfully led the effort to end the U.S. Coast Guard’s use of live tissue training, in which live animals were used for medical instruction for Coast Guard personnel – a practice which was cruel and unnecessary, given that state-of-the-art interactive human simulators are a less costly, more effective, and more humane way of teaching emergency medical care practices.
Fighting for a Healthier District
• As a member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, where she now serves as vice chair, the congresswoman has secured funding for a wide array of local health needs. These have included infant and child care, prenatal health, dental care, HIV testing, substance abuse, diabetes treatment, and telehealth services.
• She has successfully fought for federal funding for local community health clinics, including the Bell Gardens Community Health Center. She also hosts annual roundtables to bring the 40th District’s community health clinics and hospitals together.
• She authored and passed original legislation in 2008—The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act—to test newborns for treatable genetic disorders. Her law has helped to save the lives of thousands of babies. In 2014, she successfully led the fight to reauthorize the law, which passed Congress as The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act.
• In 2006, her Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking (STOP) Act was approved by Congress. The STOP Act has been instrumental in reducing underage drinking and its consequences. In 2016, she succeeded in her fight to get the law reauthorized.
• She introduced The Chiropractic Care for Veterans Act in 2017, and the bill’s principles have been passed into law. The legislation makes chiropractic care a standard benefit for veterans who rely on the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care.
• She co-introduced The Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, which was passed into law in 2018. The law increases government data collection to help place maternity care health professionals in geographic regions which have a shortage of health professionals.
• She has introduced The Seniors Have Eyes, Ears and Teeth Act, which would allow Medicare to cover vision, hearing, and dental care for seniors, helping them enjoy health and happiness in their golden years.
• Her Professional’s Access to Health (PATH) Workforce Integration Act would create a pipeline to help internationally trained health professionals who are U.S. citizens, or immigrants legally residing in the U.S., to enter America’s workforce of health professionals, and find jobs that reflect their education, skills, and expertise.
• She is a very strong advocate for mothers, and wrote The Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMS) for the 21st Century Act to help ensure all women have positive and healthy birth experiences. She helped to lead the successful fight to get the Food and Drug Administration to fortify corn masa with folic acid to reduce birth defects. She is also founding co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care.
Strengthening Our Schools and Workforce
• The congresswoman’s position on the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee has enabled her to leverage robust local education and labor funding. She has successfully obtained federal dollars for job training and placement services, arts and vocational education, afterschool care, early education, magnet schools, and English literacy programs to benefit the 40th Congressional District and the nation.
• She has been a stalwart supporter of government programs and regulations to give children the opportunities they need to learn and succeed. She helped to lead the successful fight to restore year-round Pell Grant funding in 2017, and has also championed such programs as Head Start, the Even Start Family Literacy Program, Title I School Improvement Grants, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
• Her Student Resource Guide, updated annually, provides information to students and their families about scholarships, internships, fellowships, and other opportunities to help students pay for their college education.
• She is the original House author of The Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act, a bill designed to ensure that survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking can get help without fearing for the loss of their jobs or economic security. Portions of the SAFE Act were included in the House’s 2019 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
• She authored The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE) to address abusive and exploitative child labor practices in agriculture.
• The congresswoman is a dedicated ally of labor unions, and has been one throughout her entire tenure in elected office. She understands a strong labor movement is critical to providing a reasonable living wage and proper working conditions for our hardworking families.
• She has continued to vote for living wages, strong and affordable health care for workers, and regulations to keep workplaces safe and secure, to ensure all workers in the 40th District have a chance to make ends meet and are protected from harm at their places of work.
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard is the eldest daughter of the late Congressman Edward R. Roybal and Lucille Beserra Roybal. She is married to Edward T. Allard III. Together, she and her husband have four children and nine grandchildren. She received her bachelor's degree from California State University, Los Angeles. She also holds an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from National Hispanic University.