November 14, 2018

President Trump’s Immigration Agenda Is Pro-Hispanic

President Donald Trump is locked in a battle with Congress over much-needed funding for a wall on the southern border. Critics have lambasted the president over his immigration policies, claiming his agenda discriminates against Hispanics.

But these critics are confused. President Trump’s agenda is more pro-Hispanic than any other immigration agenda put forward in the past.

The president is reforming our broken system from one that poses no serious challenge to dangerous illegal entries, to one that fosters a legal, more secure alternative. As a Hispanic woman and legal immigrant from Bolivia, I see this proposed system as significantly more pro-Hispanic and pro-immigrant than the shameful status quo.

America is a country built on immigration. For hundreds of years, legal immigrants from diverse backgrounds have been proud to call the United States home.

However, the immigration debate has shifted radically left as liberals promote open borders for the sake of political opportunism. Encouraging families to illegally cross the border does nothing but endanger them and invite false hope of a better life.

Journeying through Central America to the southern border is the definition of hell. According to statistics compiled by the United Nations International Organization for Migration, 412 missing or dead migrants were found near the U.S.-Mexico border last year alone, including women and children. Some 90 died from drowning.

Sadly, these numbers represent a minimum estimate due to unrecorded accounts of those who died on the journey before reaching the border area.

Still, statistics don’t do justice to how truly horrible the journey is. I recently had a conversation with a former co-worker who had illegally crossed the border himself. I listened to his account of the unimaginable degree of hardship one must face and resilience one must show during the dangerous trek.

“Crossing the border is heinous. You get through it because you remind yourself – someone always had it worse than you did,” he told me. He explained that women usually travel during their “time of the month” in order to reduce their chance of being sexually assaulted. Unfortunately, this story is consistent with what other illegal immigrants have told me through the years.

Illegal immigration also benefits those who seek to exploit the less fortunate in order to make a quick buck. Coyotes and smugglers have a well-deserved reputation for being ruthlessly criminal and brazenly inhumane. They put men, women and children in danger in exchange for what amounts to a lifetime's worth of savings by families seeking a better life.

Knowing this, it’s shameful that the left would rather play politics than discourage families from being exploited and endangered.

Still, the optimistic side of me wants to believe that once people make the horrendous trip, they’ll be given unlimited opportunities and their troubles will be left at the border. Yet the facts on the ground suggest otherwise.

They are exploited by unscrupulous employers, tempted to obtain illegal documentation, sometimes recruited by vicious gangs, and in some cases participate in criminal activities in order to access basic resources. It seems to be a never-ending cycle.

We can put a hard stop to this – at the border.

It is frustrating as a Hispanic woman to hear from a loud and biased mainstream media that President Trump’s policies are unfair, inhumane and anti-Hispanic. If anything can be considered fair, humane and pro-Hispanic, it would be discouraging illegal immigration, building a border wall and reforming our legal immigration system.

“This is a country of laws and we must follow them,” my father would tell my mother. His appreciation never wavered for America’s legal system after growing up in Bolivia, a country that lacked law and order. Our appreciation should be the same.

-- Jarely Parada, Staff Assistant for America First Policies 

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