The following comes from a September 10 Crux article by Inés San Martín:

For those who seem to think that “making America great again” means reducing its Hispanic footprint, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who many observers believe could become the first Hispanic Cardinal of the United States, has a reminder: We were here 100 years before you.

“As we all know, in the standard narratives, the history of our country begins [with Plymouth Rock] in the 1600s with the Pilgrims and the Mayflower,” Gomez said on Thursday, when he delivered a public lecture on the issue of immigration in the United States at Boston College.

“But my friends, I want to suggest, that with all due respect to the Pilgrims – they got to this country about a hundred years late!”

Long before the U.S. had a name, hence before George Washington and the 13 colonies or Plymouth Rock, Spanish and Mexican missionaries and explorers had settled in the territories that today are Florida, Texas, California and New Mexico.

The Hispanics weren’t the only ones to arrive to the U.S. before the Pilgrims: the first Asians, from the Philippines, had done so about 50 years before.

“Something we should think about: the first non-indigenous language spoken in this country was not English. It was Spanish,” Gomez said in his remarks, underlining that even though he couldn’t dedicate his address to the Hispanic and Catholic roots of America, he did want to recover the country’s “forgotten history.”

“We remember the first Thanksgiving, the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War,” he said. “That story is not wrong. It’s just not complete.”

This incomplete version of the country’s history gives a “distorted impression” of the nation being founded as a project of Western Europeans.

“It makes us assume that only immigrants from those countries really ‘belong’ and can claim to be called ‘Americans,’” and this misreading has “obvious implications for our current debates.”

Furthermore, immigration reform “is a spiritual issue,” a test for “our faith, our humanity and our compassion.”