Herman Badillo was born in Puerto Rico and even though in his seventh year he made New York City his home, his Puerto Rican heritage was a strong part of his identity. He has gone down in the history books as being the first Congressman born in Puerto Rico and he championed the rights of Puerto Ricans along with his focus on diminishing inner-city troubles.
On December 3rd, the day of his passing, Mayor de Blasio stated, “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Herman Badillo. He came to New York City an orphan and left it a legend – America’s first Puerto Rican-born congressman and the city’s first Puerto Rican borough president and commissioner. His life and work will inspire New Yorkers for generations to come. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
“I represent the original immigrant,”said Herman Badillo. “Everybody says that their parents and grandparents came here and couldn’t speak English and they were poor. And in my case it wasn’t my parents and grandparents. It was me.” New York City will probably always be a city of immigrants, and we are a better city for immigrants because of such a one as Herman Badillo.