They took a few minutes to pick up the trash around them.Just as we were demanding not to be taken for granted, we were not taking our community and our country for granted.
They took a few minutes to pick up the trash around them.Just as we were demanding not to be taken for granted, we were not taking our community and our country for granted.On October 16, just a couple of weeks before the election, we staged another march, from Boyle Heights to City Hall. It was religious and civic and elected and community leaders, marching in solidarity with us.
Substitute former California Governor “Pete Wilson” for “Donald Trump” as the author of some of these quotes, and you could convince me that we are living in 1994 California, not 2017 America. In 1994, California was still mired in recession, lagging behind the rest of the country in what would become the remarkable economic recovery of the 1990s.
Instead of focusing on housing, job creation, higher education, or retraining workers for the burgeoning information economy, some prominent Republicans decided it was easier to blame “illegal” immigrants, despite persistent statistics that immigrants use fewer public services than native-born residents. Arriving at a time when Latinos were beginning to reach critical mass in California, Prop 187 was almost perfectly (if unintentionally) designed to galvanize a generation of activists—which is exactly what it did.
But at the march, they were fighting for their rights in front of television cameras.
As I’ve listened to Donald Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants in general and Latinos in particular, I hear what many California politicians were saying 23 years ago. Trump is appealing to people with very real economic concerns by scapegoating an entire class of people who are not the cause of it.
Perhaps no issue exemplifies that sentiment better than immigration.
The things Donald Trump is saying about immigrants sound very familiar to those of us Californians who have been involved with immigration issues for the better part of our adult lives.
He is exploiting fears over safety, ignoring the fact that the vast majority of terrorist acts now—and more localized crimes then—are perpetrated by native-born residents.
This approach is cheap; it is disingenuous; it is simplistic; and, worst of all, it doesn’t actually solve anything.
In 1994, Latinos were 28 percent of the population, but only eight percent of the electorate.
By 2016, Latinos were 38 percent of the population and 31 percent of the electorate.