December 2, 2016

Letter to the Editor: Trump losing the Latin-American vote by landslide

By Martin Dassum

For Latin Americans around the world, the 2016 presidential election is a crucial event. I am not talking only about the relevance of this event for leaders and governments. We are on the edge of a new election.

In my opinion, one of the leading candidates in the polls, Donald Trump, does not fit in the profile of a president that will guarantee stability for Latinos in and out of the United States.

America has built a paternalistic image among Hispanics around the world. There are Latino families with relatives all over the nation. Some people’s jobs depend  on the relationships between their countries and America, some depend on medicines and American products, while others just travel. All Latin economies have large American investment and our top trade partner is the U.S.

The Latino population has bonds with the United States and there are decisions, such as the next president, that raise interest.

Since the time of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, we have seen nothing but progress in the equal rights movement. The success in making a country more equal has made America the country to look up to in the eyes of Latino societies. 

Growing up in Ecuador, my world was much less racially diverse. However, when I moved to America in 2009 and started college at Webster University, I was given the chance to understand diversity and equality through learning about America’s history, something complicated to see elsewhere.

Fast forward to Aug. 9, 2014. At around 8 p.m.  I turned on the television to see images of several public places being vandalized in Ferguson, Mo. I was  living back in Ecuador at this point, but  I was astonished by the news. It had been 49 years since the March of Selma and yet social tensions had aggressively increased – not only in Missouri but nationwide. I thought then that we have seen so much progress, just to see all of it deteriorate so quickly.

In times like these, leaders are responsible for leading toward change. I never expected  leaders would sponsor racism, disapprove the use of languages other than “American”  and misjudge millions by calling them criminals. However, my expectations fell terribly short when the things I feared became personified in Donald Trump.

According to a Washington Post article, he said, “When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems with us. They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They are rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Rather than assume, I know for a fact the vast majority of Mexican immigrants are good people. It is frightening how Trump can be approved by millions.

In the hypothetical scenario that Trump becomes president, I believe this will bring instability and will weaken the process of pursuing equality. Trump carries a misconception of the Latino people.

I have several Hispanic friends living in America and have had the chance  to see how their communities function. They are assets to the economy. Some of them work in factories, others in construction.

Some have master’s degrees and teach American-born college students. According to Greg Anrig’s book Immigration, Jobs and the American Economy, there is no important correlation between immigration and unemployment. In my opinion, it has always been a necessity.

Trying to deport immigrants will have social complications. There will be thousands of families split up and many people will lose everything. Latinos have decided to move to America in search of a better life. The eagerness to fight for a new beginning has made them hard workers.

There is no real reason to target a group of people and consider them a threat and advocating segregation. This raises several questions for me. Will we be welcomed to travel, study and do business in America? Are we going to have tensions between countries? I could go on about racial tensions, too, but the fact of the matter is I am not sure of any answers.

What I expect from a presidential candidate is positive answers, and Trump certainly does not offer any.

If anyone asked me years ago what I expected the fight for equality would look like in 2015, my answer would not be what we are currently experiencing. I just hope the new president of the U.S. will allow me to turn on the news and see justice and equal rights. It might sound idealistic but I am sure it is possible.

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  • fxg

    Although immigration is an interesting topic it has been distracting our attention from the real problem which makes this an issue in the first place: the “drug on war” and welfare. Would love to hear your opinion on these in relation to immigration.

    • Martin Dassun

      Hello fxg
      Sorry for the late reply. I just saw your comment on my article. But well, I do think the drug war is a huge topic of discussion that has not yet been solved and both candidates have not been talking about it as much as other topics such as immigration. Mexico is dealing with an issue similar to what Colombia lived through in the 90s with Pablo Escobar and the cartels. The cartels were dismanteled after 15-20 years by the help of the US secret service and by internal conflicts in which the FARC revolutionary movement saw drugs as a profitable business. They were stronger and larger than any cartel so they also “helped” the armed forces of colombia and the US remove the cartels. Cartels cant be dismantled by just getting in to armed conflict with them. They are too informal, its a work of intelligence in which you catch drug lords and make them lead you to the rest, that is how it was done in Colombia.
      Do cartels affect the US? Yes, a great deal, specially in towns close to the border.
      Does legalizing cocaine will solve the problem? It might, but how many social issues will rise due to this. We cant know unless we do try outs.
      Talking about mexicans or latino migration in the US has nothing and a lot to do with violence surrounding drug wars in Mexico, but I think the solution is inside mexico, it will involve huge cooperation between the US and the Mexican government,involving extradition laws and action from the CIA in mexican territory. But I agree, drug wars are much more important than immigration but it is a bigger issue in Mexico than it is in the US. Thanks for the question and sorry for any ESL mistakes haha…