By Jorge Calvillo ( | First Posted: Oct 04, 2013 10:54 AM EDT

(Photo: Reuters)

Mexican actress Salma Hayek was honored on October 2 with the Medallion of Excellence in the Arts and Entertainment, Music or Sports, during the annual awards gala for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI).

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., the CHCI held the ceremony that highlighted the importance of comprehensive immigration reform and the growing importance of the Hispanic community in the U.S., The Huffington Post reported.

"I'm very honored by the award, that it is my own community honoring me tonight. That every time us Latinos are a more important force to create a better America," the Mexican actress told the media moments before receiving the award at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The actress, who currently resides in Paris, arrived at the ceremony in the company of her father and her brother, and highlighted the importance of the task undertaken by a group of Hispanic legislators that tries to promote "younger generations to involve themselves" within the U.S. government.

According to the HuffPost, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama cancelled their attendance to the event owing to the shutdown of the federal government, due to the lack of agreement between Republicans and Democrats on how to divide resources for the 2014 fiscal year budget.

Despite all this, President Obama sent a brief video message thanking the Latino community for their support during his administration.

The CHCI's annual ceremony was attended by Sen. Robert Menéndez (D-NJ) and CHCI Chair Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas).

During his attendance, Menéndez, one of the main promoters of the immigration reform approved by the Senate last June, highlighted the need to approve immigration legislation that permits the legalization of the undocumented population in the United States.

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