Hispanic Americans in the Face of a Trump Presidency

By: DiversityWorking Press
Date Posted: November 21, 2016

During the campaign period, Hispanic Americans were one of the vulnerable groups hit by Donald Trump's signature anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Yet there was still a significant number who voted for Trump – though exit polls seemed to differ according to Linda Chavez of Newsmax, who noted a difference in the results gathered by 2 research groups: Latino Decision's exit polls result showed 18% of Hispanics supported Donald Trump in the election, while Edison Research said 29% of Hispanics voted Trump.
<a href="http://www.newsmax.com/LindaChavez/trump-latino-voters-exit/2016/11/18/id/759638/">click here</a>

A further breakdown of the votes for Trump showed 33 per cent of Latino men and 26 per cent of Latino women supported him at the ballot box. <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3920042/A-breakdown-Deplorables-33-Latino-men-26-Latino-women-voted-Trump-52-white-women.html">click here</a>

What could this mean, and how about the rest of the voting Hispanic population who didn't support him?

Despite the strong divisive language used by Trump against illegal immigrants and potential newcomers from Latin America and other origins, Hispanic/Latino Americans who voted for Trump have already been assimilated into the mainstream of American life, analysts reason out. These Trump backers tended to agree with Trump's stance on immigration.
“To the degree that American-born Hispanics feel the newly arrived Hispanic immigrants compete with them for jobs or increase prejudice toward Hispanics in general, they may well support Trump's proposal to deport immigrants here illegally.” Also, it's been noted “Hispanics are not single-issue voters,” as noted by Linda Chavez in her article mentioned above.

For these people, they decided that enough was enough. They now want more job opportunities, lower taxes, better school choice for their kids, and “less of the political correctness that has poisoned our communities,” as one online commenter remarked.

Fear for the Future

On the other hand, fear for their families' future and that of the country in general motivated many Hispanics/Latinos to come out and vote against Trump.

NY Times reported that more than one-third of Hispanics who have cast ballots so far did not vote in November 2012, based on an analysis made regarding early vote counts in Florida by Daniel A. Smith of the University of Florida.

The same report by NY Times also noted how many Latinas, often in mother-daughter pairs worked hard to persuade neighbors to remind them to go out and vote, and many repsonded by saying they had never voted before, but felt they must now because they could not “stomach the thought of Mr. Trump in the White House.”

An article by LA Times likewise reported on what scared Hispanic/Latinos about Trump ((all the more now for sure), and to quote: It wasn’t just the words that scared Boyle Heights (LA), it was the fact that anyone could say the things he said and have a shot at being president. The rise of a more diverse nation had given them hope of a more tolerant society, but it seemed to have unleashed a backlash against that very thing.

The Washington Post's research on Hispanic/Latino voters showed an overwhelming vote for Hillary Clinton. "Trump’s anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant comments throughout the campaign season appeared to energize the Latino electorate. [...] Latino voters made up their minds early. When asked when they decided which presidential candidate they would vote for, 78 percent said they did so over the summer or earlier." <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/11/11/in-record-numbers-latinos-voted-overwhelmingly-against-trump-we-did-the-research/">click here</a>

Such fears are not without basis, as the recent spikes in racial, offensive, hurtful remarks directed at Hispanics and Latinos show.

Trump's win has brought tears, fears and uncertainty among many naturalized immigrants because they have family members who remain undocumented.

Thus they fear deportation. Families face the risk of being separated. Many who have sought a better life here, to escape harsher realities back home, now look at a bleaker future, especially those who have not gotten their citizenship, as well as those who are disabled.

The president-elect has been reported as saying he would undo "every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama,” as reported by NY Mag. And among these expected to be canceled is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which provides temporary protection from deportation to people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Another Obama initiative that is seen to go is Obamacare, which "congressional Republicans have indicated that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act is one of their top priorities."

This adds to the non-Trump Hispanics/Latinos' anxiety. The fact that the Republican Party has taken over both chambers of Congress makes them worry about checks and balances, and the policies that will be crafted by the Trump government.

The reality too is many Trump voters support his policies regarding illegal immigration and deportation. They support the idea of penalizing companies found to be hiring illegal immigrants.

Will Hispanic/Latino Americans continue to be included in the American mainstream, or will they be slowly pushed to the margins?


At 17.6% (57 million), Hispanic/Latino Americans are a growing part of the American population, and they have contributed largely to the country's development, as President Obama acknowledged in his speech commemorating the 2016 National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 16- October 15). "...we honor the contributions Hispanics have made throughout our history, and we highlight an important part of the rich diversity that keeps our communities strong.
Hispanic Americans have had a lasting impact on our history and have helped drive hard -- won progress for all our people.” <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/15/presidential-proclamation-national-hispanic-heritage-month-2016">click here</a>

According to projections by the DOL (Department of Labor) in 2011, the Hispanic/Latino American population would still grow, and it is expected that by 2020, this segment will comprise 19% of the U.S. labor force.

In other words, the country cannot afford to overlook the significance of Hispanic/Latino Americans, for they are a force to reckon with. They help power the economy and contribute to the rich diversity of the nation. But to be subjected to racism and discrimination can only hurt and alienate them.

Other facts and figures:

* Two-thirds (35.3 million) of the country's Hispanic population are of Mexican origin.
* 27.3 million Latinos were eligible to vote in 2016, up from 23.3 million in 2012.
(From The Washington Post: 13.1 million to 14.7 million Latinos cast ballots in the 2016 election, a significant increase from the 11.2 million Latino votes cast in 2012.)
* Diversity among Hispanic origin groups varies between major metropolitan areas.
* Latinos make up the largest group of immigrants in most states, mostly because Mexico is the biggest source of immigrants in 33 states.
- <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/09/15/facts-for-national-hispanic-heritage-month/">click here</a>

Trump may have gotten some Hispanic/Latino votes, but a greater number did not vote for him. The best people can do for now is to hope Trump will soften his stance towards the groups his campaign rhetoric targeted with venom, and that he will indeed keep his promise to be “president for ALL Americans.”

Meanwhile, it behooves everyone to stay vigilant against any race-motivated negative actions instigated by any individual/groups, to stand up against these and other injustices, and to keep promoting diversity and inclusion.

Quotes to ponder:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

“To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Every social injustice is not only cruel, but is economic waste.” - William Feather

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