LOS ANGELES, CA – Please attribute the following statement to MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz.
“Despite record-breaking turnout from the Latino electorate yesterday, the electoral college will select in January a president who received minimal levels of support from the Latino community. President-elect Donald Trump built his campaign around thinly-veiled anti-immigrant and anti-Latino appeals, with the predictable result that the Latino vote was decisive in several states, such as Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. Nonetheless, and despite losing the popular vote, Donald Trump will be the president beginning in January.
MALDEF hopes and expects that the President-elect will adopt different rhetoric and pursue different policies, particularly in critical areas like immigration, than he espoused in his campaign. To begin, he must unequivocally disavow any role for the people or policies of the alt-right in governance. MALDEF calls upon the President-elect to publicly reject the alt-right narratives of racism, exclusion, and misogyny as he begins planning his administration.
We also call upon the President-elect to revisit and revise his articulated immigration policy proposals. As a businessperson, Trump should readily understand that mass removals — particularly of the millions who are daily contributing their knowledge and hard work to our economy and to raising United States citizen children — are bad economic and security policy. We recall that one of most conservative previous presidents, Ronald Reagan, signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, granting protection to millions of undocumented immigrants contributing to the country and economy in the 1980s. We urge and expect Donald Trump to govern more in that mode than what his campaign might otherwise have indicated.
A failure to adopt more well-informed and appropriate policies would not only harm the best policy interests of the nation, it would be bad politics. True to pattern, political pundits in the media will likely spend the next several weeks predicting the past instead of recognizing the political future. The fact is that this is the last time any president will be elected or re-elected with such minimal levels of support in the Latino community. Yesterday’s result will energize Latinos across the nation to naturalize, register, and vote, replicating nationwide what occurred in California two decades ago. This energizing, coupled with the demographic growth of the Latino community, mean that the tectonic shift of the nation’s political future will be the brown belt, not the rust belt.
Latinos have always been a central contributor to American progress, and the Latino community — today representing one in four of all public school students nationwide — will play an even bigger role in making the United States continue to thrive in the future. Latinos are thus an essential part of the nation that President-elect Trump will govern, and we hope and expect that he will support the Latino community in its critical role.
Throughout the remainder of the current Administration and the Trump Administration, MALDEF will continue to play its critical role in protecting and defending the Constitution and the rights of all Latinos living in the United States against undue excesses and discriminatory practices by any level of government or by private actors.”