Costa Continues Work to Strengthen the American-Portuguese Relationship
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) continued his efforts to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Portugal by advocating for the Advancing Mutual Interests and Growing Our Success Act, or the AMIGOS Act (H.R. 5173).
A second-generation Portuguese American himself, Rep. Costa has worked with Portuguese American organizations and Portuguese officials for decades. Costa and his family have been members of Portuguese American fraternal organizations and clubs since his grandparents came to the United States at the turn of the 20th Century. Congressman Costa’s memberships include the Portuguese American Leadership Council of the United States (PALCUS) and the California Portuguese American Coalition (CPAC). Outside of his support for these organizations, Rep. Costa initiated and facilitated the Sister State relationship between California and Azores, Portugal, which was made official in 2002. More recently, Costa played a significant role in establishing a Sister University relationship between Fresno State, his alma mater, and the University of the Azores.
Congressman Costa represents a large Portuguese American population in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and is a co-chair of the Congressional Portuguese American Caucus. Rep. Costa also represented a sizeable Portuguese American population in the Central Valley during his time serving in the California state legislature.
Noting that Portugal in one of America’s oldest and most important allies, Rep. Costa called on his colleagues to support the AMIGOS Act on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today. “Portugal was one of the first countries to recognize the United States after we declared our independence and won the Revolutionary War… To defend western democracies, Portugal, along with the United States helped organize western Europe to create NATO… For these reasons and more, I call upon my colleagues to join me in supporting a commonsense, bipartisan piece of legislation. The AMIGOS Act will further opportunities for business in America, by creating more jobs, and continue to enhance the relationship that has existed for over 200 years between the United States and Portugal.”
Watch Congressman Costa’s Speech to the House of Representatives Here:
The AMIGOS Act will grant Portuguese citizens eligibility for E-1 and E-2 Visas, which allow individuals to enter the United States to conduct “substantial trade” or invest a “substantial amount of capital” respectively. In 2015 alone, bilateral trade between the U.S. and Portugal reached $4.2 billion. Congressman Costa joined Congressmen David Cicilline (RI-1) and David Valadao (CA-21) in introducing the legislation in the House of Represenatives earlier this month.