Coming to America: Millennial Latinos Talk About Voting and Immigration
By: Aracelli Ramirez
Latinos make up the largest and fastest growing minority in the United States, with 58 million reported in 2016. One in 8 people that live in the United States are immigrants. Nearly half of all immigrants are naturalized citizens. Nearly 690,000 people are on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), according to the American Immigration Council. More than half of Latinos in the United States say they are worried about the future and are concerned about deportation. Approximately 4 million more Latinos are eligible to vote this year than in 2014.
According to Pew Research, half of the Hispanic adults in the United States are foreign born, while the other half which are less concerned about immigration and deportation, were born in the states.
Cesar Delgado, is a Hispanic millennial who was born in the United States, but both of his parents are from Mexico. He said he was not going to vote in the November, 2018 election.
“I’m not voting and never have voted. Not because I don’t care, I do, but it’s just never really fit into my schedule to go out of my way and do it. Everyone seems like they are always lying in the races. Maybe as I get older I’ll care more, when it starts to directly affect me and my family then I will,” Delgado said.
Lynda DelaCruz is also a Hispanic millennial and one of her parents were born in Mexico. Delacruz has never voted and is skeptical about the election process.
“The way I see it is both sides. It’s all hard but does voting really make a difference and does our vote really count? There is more corruption than good. And the bad will always take over the good in the election,” said DelaCruz.
Jose Delgado’s parents came to America in the 1980s in hopes of finding a better life to raise him and his brothers.
“I’m not voting, everyone thinks that if we vote we will see change or something. Everyone was against Trump and a lot of people went out and voted against him. I was one of the few that didn’t and Trump became president and I still didn’t see any change. He is just an asshole that gets people heated, but I still have my job and my family is still doing good. Latinos haven’t been deported by the masses, things won’t change until we have some type of major destruction,” Delgado said.
On the contrary, Maria Esquivel is a DACA recipient, and although she cannot vote, her political views are still standing strong.
“When I think of Trump I can’t help but to think of his ignorance toward my people. He only talks about all the negative that immigrants bring to the U.S but what about all of the good?” she said. “We are taxpayers, homeowners, building families, hardworking and dedicated. Hundreds of us are DACA recipients, if we really are criminals we wouldn’t even have the privilege of obtaining a form of residency.”
Immigrants come from all over the world, but the majority come from Mexico, according to the American Immigration Council. In October 2017, 3,000 immigrants migrated from Central America to the U.S border. Hondurans fled their hometowns only to be held up.”
I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught -- and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER.” President Donald Trump tweeted.
The Atlantic reports gang violence, rape, police corruption, and murders as reasons why Central Americans to flee their homes. In a findings report by Pew Research, 85 percent of Latinos said they think the United States is a better place to live than in their own country.
“His idea to close the border is flat down ridiculous. He is going to cause more damage to the economy than good if he really goes through with it. If his idea is to stop people from migrating, well that’s just unrealistic because people are still going to find a way to come to the U.S,” said Esquivel.
On the contrary, Jose Delgado opposes opening borders.
“We’re just going to let them in just because they’re in a group?” he said. “Get out of here. My parents crossed the border without any help and never asked for a pity party. It’s not fair that they don’t get to live here, but they’re just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Delacruz has mixed feelings about the Honduran caravan.
“I’ve met Honduran people, people from Mexico, and El Salvador. There are good and bad people, just like there are anywhere else. Can we honestly make a difference though?” Delacruz said. “From my understanding is when the people of Central America forced themselves to Mexico they didn’t come in peacefully, they messed a lot of stuff up. A lot of people died, including a 9-month-old baby girl. There already are a lot of Americans who don’t like us for a lot of reasons, why give them more to talk about? I’m not saying coming here illegally is bad because that’s how we got here, but they could’ve done it more peacefully.”
The American Immigration Council reports that 41 percent of the United States agricultural workers are immigrants.
One of the biggest arguments against illegal immigration is the idea that immigrants take up Americans jobs. Ethan Lewis, a labor economist at Dartmouth College tells NPR that since immigrants come here, low skilled, unable to speak English, they get the low-wage jobs that no one wants. As a result, Americans who are also low-skilled, now have the an advantage over their Hispanic counterparts; they speak English, which in turn moves them up the ladder.
“Another thing that gets left out of the discussion is that they come in; they are also not just workers but consumers. So their demand for products and services is part of what fuels the greater amount of job opportunities that comes as a result of their being here,” said Lewis.
In a report by the Latino Voter Collaborative, Latinos are expected to increase the U.S. gross domestic product by 24 percent, meanwhile they have already contributed $2.13 trillion to the economy.