The Candidate Latinos Want

Jose Coronado, Columnist

According to Pew Research, 11 percent of the national eligible voters are Latinos. As elections come close, candidates will inevitably try to lure in Latino voters with promises.

Bernie Sanders has promised immigration reform that would legalize 11 million illegal immigrants. Other candidates like Donald Trump have leveraged issues surrounding Latin Americans to gain popularity with other voters. Less extreme Republicans like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio want immigration reform that will facilitate legal immigration and increase security at the border, but don’t plan to legalize millions of illegal immigrants. Hillary Clinton recently said that she looks forward to forming a path to citizenship that will benefit millions of undocumented immigrants.

60 percent of the Latinos voted for the Democrats last midterms. They tend toward the Left because they like Democratic social policy. Liberal representatives have supported many bills like The DREAM Act that assists Latin Americans while Republicans have tried to stop immigration legislation proposed by Democrats.

The trends are clear. The question is, what are Latino’s looking for in their Democratic candidate?

Latinos in the United States want to stop living in fear. Fear that largely comes from the migrant status of their families. Many Latin American citizens have at least one relative who is in the country illegally and are threatened with deportation everyday. Illegals and their relatives are even discriminated and attacked by other people.

Last month a video of a policeman in New Jersey threatening teenagers with “sending their families back to Mexico” was released. Latinos are tired of these attacks, they want a candidate that will help them and their families to obtain legal status. Someone who will consider the consequences of separating families.

Deportation results in forced abandonment of Latin American kids. Many times they grow up with other relatives, or friends, or in foster homes. Kids that grow up without parents are more likely to join gangs or drop out of school because no one is there to guide them.

Latinos also want easier access to jobs. Entire sectors like construction and agriculture depend on them, but tougher immigration laws make it hard for Latinos to come work in the United States. There is a shortage of workers in both areas because American workers are less interested in working fields or building homes.

Reform is necessary to help the American economy by bringing in people from Latin America who are willing to work in these sectors. The United States should expand its temporary workers program. This would not only improve the economy, but also discourage illegal immigration. Tech companies already use visas to bring people from China and India to work in the U.S. If we simplify the process, thousands of workers from Latin America would also be able to come work legally without breaking any rules.

Higher education is another huge issue. The majority of Latinos that came to the United States before the year 2000 were uneducated. Many of them did not finish high school, and some were illiterate. A lack of educational opportunity in Latin America has resulted in a deep appreciation of the United States’ free education system.

But today, a high school diploma is not enough to get a good job, and sending children to college is expensive. Latinos would love more assistance in sending their kids to college. Asking for free college education (as Sanders proposes) might be too much when considering the United States’ budgetary issues, but there should be more programs that encourage and help Latinos attend college. This would greatly improve the socio-economic situation of the Latinos in the United States.

My hope is that the next American President will put an end to deportation. Latinos in this country have been able to accomplish many things, despite the many issues and obstacles they cope with everyday. If Americans allow Latinos to feel safe in their country, there will be a great increase in levels of Latino success and accomplishment.