On March 15, Donald Trump won the Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina Republican primaries; however, that same show of support is not found among Hispanic voters – exit polls for Florida’s primary reveal that only 27 percent of Hispanic Republicans vote for Trump, as opposed to the 52 percent who voted for Rubio.
Because of Trump’s controversial stances on immigration issues, the news of his winning results rapidly spread throughout the immigrant community. One subgroup of the U.S. immigrant community, immigrant millennials, find themselves living
in what Wilfredo Canales, Olivet Nazarene University Spanish professor and Kankakee First Church Hispanic Ministry pastor, calls a “complex reality” that influences their political views and decisions.
“They recognize their identity is influenced by the culture in which they were raised, but also by the culture passed down in their families,” Canales said.
For these immigrants of the millennia, the presidential race so far has been a learning experience, particularly with the factor of Donald Trump’s ideas, such as
the controversial building of a wall at the southern border and the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants, and the support they’ve garnered.
Dr. David Claborn, a political science professor at Olivet Nazarene University, expressed his surprise at the support Trump is receiving when his expression of his ideas, such as proposing building a wall and making Mexico pay for it, lacks the usual sophistication of political candidates.
“Perhaps it’s that with something of a job-less comeback from the recession and so-called political correctness hampering people who’d otherwise speak without such sensitivity, someone like Trump comes in, denigrating everyone, and is striking a chord with people who have been down on their luck for a long time,” Claborn said.
Andres Rojas, 21, recent Parkland College graduate and worker at a
pizza diner from Arcola, Ill., said his concern is how unrealistic Trump’s ideas are. Enforcing the deportations Trump proposes would take more than his four, or potentially eight, years in office. Rojas also questions the sustainability of the American economy if Trump’s propositions were to come true.
These concerns are also shared by a 22-year-old, Eastern Illinois University marketing student from Charleston, Ill. However, her biggest concerns have to do with the American identity and the image Trump is setting that is contradictory to those American values. A nation of immigrants turning its back on other immigrants makes no sense to her, and all she can foresee as a result of realized Trump ideas are “huge controversy and a divided nation.”
From her marketing perspective, Gonzalez said she has noticed how the U.S. has promoted itself as a country offering a better life for those it takes in; now, it’s necessary to follow through with that identifying factor.
“You can’t market a product and then cheat the customer. That’s unethical,” Gonzalez said.
To Gonzalez, people staying informed and the influence of the Latino vote is what gives her hope for the wise choosing of the next president.
“I believe in the Latino power,” she said. “I know all of our Latinos will stand up together in unity. Together we will fight for an opportunity in this country…the American dream country.”
–Daneli Rabanalez Hernandez, contributing writer