Baltimore’s Latino Youth Speak Out After Donald Trump’s Victory
Casa de Maryland organizer Lydia Walther-Rodriguez says Obama’s record deportations have already prepared the Latino community for Trump
JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Donald Trump’s surprise victory has stoked fears in communities of color, especially immigrants who he singled out in his campaign.
DONALD TRUMP: They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume are good people.
NOOR: Those fears became real on Sunday on 60 minutes when Donald Trump doubled down on his campaign pledge to deport millions of immigrants.
TRUMP: What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people. Probably 2 million, it could even be 3 million. We’re getting them out of our country or we’re going to incarcerate.
NOOR: With hate crimes spiking around the country, we’re going to talk to the Latino youth here at the offices of Casa de Maryland, a leading provider of services for immigrants in Maryland.
CRISALY DE LOS SANTOS: My name is Crisaly de Los Santos and I’m from Dominican Republic.
Donald Trump won the presidential elections and that’s frustrating for me. At the same time it’s funny because I don’t see how is it that an individual that makes fun and threatens people to be a leader.
I really thought that he wasn’t going to win because I thought that the people from this country were way more supportive and they care about everybody as equal. But now I see that it’s not only the politicians, it’s also the people.
REPORTER: The number of reported hate crimes continues to surge in the wake of Donald Trump’s election last week.
SANTOS: Yea it’s happening everywhere. The only thing that he motivated was hate and he’s just trying to get us to hate each other. Even in school people feel frustrated and sometimes they don’t know how to express their frustration and they do in a negative way. In our school it’s the same thing he’s doing to the whole country. He’s separating people, the white people from the Hispanics. So, he’s just creating something negative and a bad relationship between us.
CIRIAN FLORES ORDONEZ: My name is Cirian, I am 17 years old and I am from Honduras.
NOOR: So, Donald Trump has had a lot of rhetoric, he said a lot of things about immigrants over the last year since he launched his campaign. He said Mexican people are rapists. How does that make you feel? How does that make people in the community feel when the next president says those kinds of things?
ORDONEZ: In [her] opinion, [she] wants to say that not all of us are the same. You can’t say that we are all the same bases on the actions of a few and he’s making it seems that we’re all going to pay for those actions.
I think that he needs to think about placing himself in our shoes because he doesn’t know the situations that we lived in our countries.
In our communities [she’s] noticed that there’s been a lot of different assaults targeting the Latino community and she’s saying last week in her community there was someone who was assaulted and was jumped by some folks in the community. They didn’t rob him; they didn’t take anything from him. So [she] feels like it was targeted.
So it’s very important for our communities to get out and protest so that it is exposed that he is not the leader that we want and he’s not what’s good for this country.
LYDIA WALTER-RODRIGUEZ: My name is Lydia Walther-Rodriguez. I’m a community organizer with Casa.
We need to lift the hatred that Donald Trump was continuing to publicize during his campaign. That was something that we were fighting against. We’ve been fighting against it for a long time. Especially here in Maryland with the Maryland Dream Act. That fight that a lot of our youth have been having since 2012. Seeing the win that we had with DOCA, the executive order that the president presented and also promising the extension of DOCA as well as expansion to the parents, [inaud.] and seeing all of that hard work being undone and now the jeopardy of all of our youth who’ve been fighting for so long. Being in that state of uncertainty is really heartbreaking.
So, we know that with out pass mayor we have the executive order that you know that police couldn’t collaborate with immigration. But the implementation of that we know that there’s still incidents with that where that’s still happening. So especially here in the city and also thinking in Baltimore County where we’re working with a lot of the youth in Baltimore County as well, there’s still that fear. So, we’re hoping that the next mayor will also continue in that and not allowing the police to collaborate with immigration. That’s going to cause the opposite of what we want to happen. Because when our immigrant community, our Latino community continue to be in this fear where they can’t report crimes that happen against them, they become targets. They will continue to become targets of crime because people will not report those crimes.
Then when the community knows that a certain part of the community is not going to be reporting, crimes are going to be happening more frequently against them.
NOOR: So I know around the country there’s been different initiatives organized on a grassroots level, how to defend immigrant communities, how to stop deportations. Talk about what’s happening in Maryland on a local level. Are those talks, are those meetings starting to happen?
WALTER-RODRIGUEZ: Definitely. So, we’re continuing in that grassroots fight. Really talking about training, defensoras trainings, how to be a defender in your community. Not just how to prevent yourself for being a victim of deportation but how to really be a defender of your neighbor, of your children. Having those dialogues with your children as well and doing the know your rights discussion and knowing there’s a lot of neighbors especially in the Owings Mills, Baltimore County area where we’ve been organizing that have those groups that they’re filming if they see suspicious activity. They see someone that looks like [inaud.], they’re filming those things and they’re passing it along through those social media. But really kind of underground grassroots organizing to ensure that they could work together and be on alert if immigration is there.
NOOR: So, I think that’s a good point because it’s not like there weren’t any deportations or night raids under Obama. They deported more than 3 million people. Those night raids were going on. So, it’s not like people aren’t already organized, they’re not already aware and fighting the same kind of thing.
WALTER-RODRIGUEZ: So definitely. Deportations. Obama deported in high, high numbers than before. So, we’re continuing to be organized but we’re really is one of the things that worries a lot of community members. A lot of activists, a lot of folks that were working within the community. They say I’m not going to give up, I’m going to keep fighting. I’m going to continue to be in this movement. But what I’m worried about is my children and the repercussions of a role model like Donald Trump effecting my children and giving the confidence to bullies that continue to pass hate but not pass it in the way of Donald Trump.
NOOR: With Cameron Granadino, this is Jaisal Noor for the Real News in Baltimore.
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