By Rick Sánchez
If there is one line for Latinos in America who want desperately to look admirably upon their leaders, but were again sadly disappointed in this third and final debate it’s this phrase uttered by Donald Trump toward the end.
“We take better care of illegal immigrants than we do our veterans.”
First of all, it’s not true. But here’s what neither he nor his opponent understands about Hispanics in America, who are the people in code that Trump is really addressing when he talks about ‘illegals.”
Hundreds of thousands of Hispanic Americans serve in our nation’s military. They make up 17 percent of all new recruits and 8,000 of those are undocumented. It gets better, because among elite groups like the Marines, the percentages of Latinos are even higher. Do you think Trump knows that 18 percent of Marines serving in the Iraq war were Hispanic?
Latinos have come to expect Trump to thump his chest with erroneous information about immigration that is demeaning to Hispanics.
“They’re pouring over the border”— not true, actually more are leaving than arriving.
“They’re killing Americans”— not true, actually undocumented immigrants commit way fewer crimes than any group including all citizens.
“We have to build a wall” — not true, we could use digital technology to secure our border.
“They have to leave and get in the back of the line” — not true and not fair. Actually, immigrants who’ve been here for decades have paid taxes, contributed to our communities and are way too vested with plenty of skin in the game to be discarded or replaced by somebody with no connection or commitment to America. Think about it.
Of course, we could not expect a candidate who announced his campaign by attacking Mexicans calling them “criminals and rapists” to know these important facts, but any self-respecting student of our present immigration reality should know and be able to recite the facts.
Which brings me to Hillary Clinton. Hispanics in America are still waiting for a sign from Mrs. Clinton — one where she demonstrates her appreciation for Latino contributions to America, not just for often voting democrat.
Rather than treating Latinos like victims and complaining about Trump’s meanness, what she should have pointed out – if she were truly invested in all Americans, as she says she is – would be the following:
Mr. Trump, your plan to deport millions of Latinos and break up families would destroy our economy. We would lose more than 60 percent of farm workers, driving up the cost of produce by as much as ten fold. We would also lose between 6 and 10 percent of our workforce and cost our economy an estimated $1.6 trillion.
Mr. Trump, did you know that study after study including one conducted by Texas’ comptroller demonstrates that even undocumented immigrants provide a net gain, not a net loss for statewide economies? The reason is simple, they pay more into the system in consumer, property and even income taxes than they could ever hope to get back, because they are ineligible for welfare, too young to get sick and rarely seek indigent care or hospitalization.
Mr. Trump, you should know that Latinos in America are now spearheading our nation’s economic growth by creating more small businesses than any other group and hiring more workers than most large companies. In fact, the buying power alone of Latinos in America has increased 45 percent in the past five years. In fact, did you know that if Latinos residing the United States were a country, they would represent the 12th largest economy in the world?
Once again, Latinos in America are left to choose between bad and worse. We come away from this third and final presidential debate with one candidate who doesn’t know and doesn’t want to know anything about Latinos — and another who should know, but doesn’t care.
Your Editor Asks: Why should candidates pay special attention to us? Shouldn´t we join the rest of the country and choose the one that will not discriminate.