Tal para Cual

Latino political elite stomp for Hillary Clinton because they are one in the same

As the Presidential primary whirlwind centers on Nevada, the Latino electorate’s choice looms large. And as the race tightens, some Latino politicians and spokespeople have rolled out a red carpet for Secretary Clinton and have launched attacks on Senator Sanders.

A cursory analysis of the messages and arguments being made gave me an immediate reaction: se pasan.

We are suddenly reminded of votes and sign on’s, specifically on a vote in 2007 on a bill to reform the immigration system. Sanders has been roundly criticized for his vote against the bill. He has clarified repeatedly that his opposition was not anti-immigrant, but pro-worker. However, the message bearers, using a trick of pundits and mastered by Republicans, simply keep repeating the line to make it true.

This line of attack banks on the fact that for many Latino voters who care about immigration, perhaps they are too busy, too bored or were chambiando when the deals were being cut in Washington DC to know who are the winners and who are the losers. It banks on the idea that while many in our community support la reforma they are often not walked through the details of these bills and the massive concessions made by our ‘leaders’ and that in fact, different iterations of this omnibus bill include more harm than good.

What they fail to mention is the culpability of the entire Democratic party in this failure of this strategy, not only because its never gotten us just and humane reform but because in an effort to pass these bills the arguments have often helped justify the vast criminalization of migrants today.

Also, can some DC strategist do the political math and walk me through — how is a promise for immigration reform in the first 100 days of a Clinton Administration not considered mythology and pie in the sky?

Typical also is the fact that these arguments often solely focus on immigration and assume that Latinos will only compare the records and positions of these candidates on immigration. This continues to silo our community, positioning us as a one-issue captive voting bloc. That hasn’t done us any good. In fact, for poor people, for Black people, for LGBTQ people, for women — it allows us to be taken for granted. Let’s have a conversation about trade policy and the impact of NAFTA, mass incarceration and the impact of the various crime bills that, I’m sure both of these candidates have a long record on. Let’s also talk about welfare and healthcare. Because Latinos, including undocumented immigrants, need that too. And with respect to job creation and unemployment, read Michelle Alexander’s recent op-ed and remember the millions held in cages, and remember that many of them are our sisters, brothers, cousins, our family as well.

To be clear, this is not a chanclazo towards one candidate while offering a pat to the back to the other. The Democratic party likes to offer therapy to the GOP about the fact that they are in a fight for the soul of their party when in fact they need to get their own house in order.

For voters who do care primarily about the candidates position on immigration, I hope they take a quick trip down memory lane and ask themselves: How many of these leaders have been willing to spend real political capital or their celebrity status to stop the deportation of a person in the cross hairs of the Obama Administration’s immigration enforcement system?

The fact is that when its election time, we get our doors knocked, our mailboxes stuffed and our TV’s blasting a message of SI SE PUEDE, but when it comes time to deliver, we get the addendum: But not right now. It seems like many of our leaders are first when there is a party, and last to arrive when its a fight. That needs to change. And I for one, see right through it.