Despite what is deemed to be four years of the most restrictive immigration policies in American history mainly against people south of the border, many Latinos are voting red this November.
Tens of thousands of people living in the USA, but who emigrated from countries such as Venezuela and Cuba, have been seen taking to the streets flying Trump 2020 and Latinos for Trumps flags.
In Miami, Florida last week, an estimated 40,000 vehicles were used during a 5 mile caravan from the outskirts of the city to the Freedom Tower near Miami Dade college, all in support of Donald Trump.
Similar things have happened in other cities, including in Democratic strongholds such as New York and California.
However, the mainstream media have portrayed the President as a racist who hates Latinos. From the start of his presidential campaign in 2015, Trump warned of rapists and drug dealers streaming over the border from Mexico. In the White House, he’s moved to curb both legal and illegal immigration and questioned why the U.S. should take in people from “s—hole countries” like El Salvador and Haiti.
Yet a poll by Quinnipiac University poll last month had Trump leading Joe Biden among Latinos in the battleground state of Florida by 45% to 43% and similar in other states such as Arizona and New Jersey.
So why the endorsement?
Marcos Marte, 27, of Union City, New Jersey, is one Latino voting Republican.
Marte is voting for President Donald Trump, attracted by the Republican Party’s “Judeo-Christian” values and the president’s economic record before the coronavirus hit. He says he also likes Trump’s plans for securing the southern border and restricting illegal immigration.
“We have to elevate ourselves and I think Donald Trump is the only president that I’ve seen in my adult life that is putting America’s citizens’ values front forward,” said Marte, who works in the banking industry.
“No matter what, we can still get out of where we are and empower ourselves to make our lives better … He is putting that right in front of us.”
Mirian Aguilar, a resident of New Brunswick, said: “Here in New Jersey we don’t see a candidate campaign targeting the Latino community.
“The issue of immigration, which has always been important, was not even mentioned in the presidential or vice presidential debate. They have talked a lot about COVID, which has strongly affected us Latinos, but they do not say anything about specific help for people who do not have the luxury of working from home.”
In interviews, Latinos who back Trump cite the president’s business background and the record employment numbers for Black and Hispanic Americans before the pandemic. They like the take-no-prisoners “energy” he brings to the office, even if that combative style has turned off other voters.
Fernando Alonso, an attorney from Oradell whose parents emigrated from Cuba decades ago, said the violence that’s broken out at some racial justice protests has also turned off voters who may have memories of unstable, violent regimes in their home countries. Trump has blamed the unrest on Democrats.
“Safety is really important to them,” said Alonso, who leads the Bergen County Hispanic Republican Association. “When they see those things on television, the riots, it’s not something they came to the United States to be part of.”
Latinos make up the largest minority voting group in the country, with 32 million projected to be eligible to vote in next month’s election. The Garden State is home to about 948,000 of those eligible voters.
And in California, a largely Democratic state, many Latinos are turning towards the President’s work-ethic and also scarred by the warring riots which have raged in cities such as Los Angeles and Anaheim which saw police officers and innocent citizens shot and stabbed.
Martinez-Hanna is a Christian and a first-generation Mexican American who grew up in the U.S.-Mexico border town of Eagle Pass, Texas before settling down in California. She is the daughter of Mexican parents, who migrated to the U.S. in the late 40s and early 50s.
She said that Latinos are mostly Democrat here and cannot see how one would vote Republican.
Most of her friends, those who she thought would “never in a million years” turn on her, no longer speak to her.
The isolation worsened in 2018, when she wanted to stop hiding her opinions and joined Latinos for Trump as an outspoken activist.
“I wanted to show people that being a minority, you could be Republican,” said Martinez-Hanna, a 59-year-old resident of El Dorado Hills. “It throws people completely off, and they don’t like it.”
Support for Trump among California Latinos has grown since 2016, according to polls, despite concern in the community about his immigration policies and disparaging remarks he’s made about immigrants throughout his presidency.
Mike Madrid, co-founder of the Lincoln Project and an expert in Latino voting trends, said Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has yet to win over Hispanic men in the same way Hillary Clinton did in 2016.
A new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California released this week shows 57% of likely Latino voters in California – who Madrid said are mostly of Mexican descent – plan to vote for Biden and 33% for Trump. About 6% are undecided.
Share on your Social Networks