The 100-day mark of Trump’s presidency is quickly approaching, and with historically low approval ratings, it should come as no surprise that he has done nothing to help boost Latinos in the United States. With no legislative accomplishments to highlight for the nation, Trump’s divisive anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric created and amplified an unprecedented level of fear and anxiety in our communities.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that Latinos not only look for the solutions to the issues we face as a country, but also ensure that our community has a fair seat at the table.
Despite all the obstacles in place, Latinos have been making great strides in realms previously unthinkable for many of us. The 55 million and growing population already start more businesses in America than any other demographic, and as a whole, we have a purchasing power of over $1.3 trillion.
This is why in just a few days, Latinos from all across the country in a variety of fields, and some of the top-most influential Latino leaders in the nation, will come together to share their stories and have bold, transparent, and inclusive conversations about what our community needs to do moving forward.
These leaders will include Latino Victory Foundation’s co-founder and current DNC Finance Chair Henry Muñoz, the first Latina to be elected to serve in our U.S. Senate, Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto, internationally recognized and award-winning culinary innovator Chef José Andrés, astronaut and “Reaching for the Stars” founder Jose Hernández, Women’s March Artistic Director Paola Mendoza, CNN Political Commentator and champion for Latino rights Ana Navarro, and more.
Continuing to focus on our accomplishments, strategizing on how we can continue building our agenda, and supporting and lifting each other up to reach individual goals at every experience level is key. For example, by focusing on down ballot elections, we have made strides in this effort by helping to elect the largest number of Latinos in the United States Congress. And just this past week, we reached a victory with Jon Ossoff, who earned 48.6% of the vote and will face a runoff election this June to flip Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.
The important conversations taking place by Latino leaders are only the beginning. Everyone has a personal story and a voice that can inspire their own community. Latinos have come so far as a community and have fought for decades to uplift our status, and for what? To find ourselves yet again in peril? One thing we have learned as activists is that we cannot do this alone: we need our leaders and each other. We need you.
We must work together as a community to take action and protect our constitutional, civil, and human rights that America stands for.
What is at stake?
The stakes are high. In his first few weeks in office, Trump laid out a path that echoed his racial and bigotry campaign dialogue to set Latinos back.
In his State of the Union address, Trump once again attempted to manipulatively and prejudicially justify his massive deportation policy. Instead of highlighting the many contributions made by Latino immigrants, Trump chose to invite a victim of an isolated crime regretfully committed by a Latino — an offense that our community understands must face justice.
Even worse, his controversial series of Executive Orders include expanding detention center capacities (which are already overflowing), militarizing border communities by increasing the number of border patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and building a border wall, an act that 61% of Texans are against according to a poll released this past week.
His policies also include withholding federal funds needed for security and social programs to sanctuary cities. Essentially, Trump threatened that he would strip federal money from cities that refuse to comply with deporting immigrants -- Miami/Dade was the first to retreat and many cities have filed lawsuits against Trump in retaliation.
In addition, the orders call for expanding the criteria of immigrants who are priorities for removal. This should NOT include innocent DREAMers like Juan Manuel Montes-Bojorquez, who is presumably the first, and sadly not the last, protected Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipient to be deported. With the help of the National Immigration Law Center, Juan Manuel is suing the U.S. government and his case will be heard by the U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whom Trump questioned for his 'Mexican Heritage’ during the campaign.
And, just this past week, Trump released another anti-immigrant executive order that greatly affects H1-B Visa recipients. In an attempt to hype up his “Buy American, Hire American” agenda, Trump is hurting key U.S. industries, especially large tech firms like Google and Facebook.
If Trump wants companies to hire American, then we need to educate Americans and NOT cut our education budget as Trump has proposed. He should not eliminate college grant programs for low-income and underprivileged students, decrease money for job training, after-school programs and services to promote higher education, and deter teaching performance and effectiveness. Where does he expect to find qualified and specialized workers if capable individuals in the U.S., including Latinos, don’t have access to the right education? We must not short change the fact that 83% of America’s top high school science students are the children of immigrants.
In addition to cutting education initiatives in his first 100 days, Trump has also setback key environmental programs, attacked women and LGBTQ rights, and proposed cuts to programs for senior citizens.
Among Trump’s defeats include successfully failing to destroy the Affordable Care Act, which has helped more than four million Latinos in the U.S. And, a failed Department of Justice attempt at halting a major Texas Voter ID law case, or SB14, that was filed during the Obama Administration arguing that lawmakers had intent to discriminate against Latinos and minorities when forming the law. A federal judge has ruled twice that Texas did intentionally discriminate.
These reasons and more are why Latinos must continue to fight back and step forward to lead our march for progress.