While Donald Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric on the campaign trail helped unite many Latinxs against the president-elect, some – 29 percent, actually – voted for the Republican, perhaps because they were U.S. citizens who didn’t fear deportation or maybe because they weren’t Mexican and felt some bit of security because Trump didn’t call out their home country by name.
The reality: None of us is really “safe” under a Trump presidency, regardless if you got a shout-out or not.
The proof: The former reality star is building a team of anti-immigrant politicos. Among them is Sen. Jeff Sessions, who, in a 2006 speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate against immigration, called Dominicans, by name, useless to U.S. society.
“Fundamentally, almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming here because they have a provable skill that would benefit us and that would indicate their likely success in our society,” Sessions said. “They come in because some other family member of a qualified relation is here as a citizen or even a green card holder. That is how they get to come. They are creating a false document to show these are relatives or their spouses and they are married when it is not so.”
Sessions, like Trump and his squad of xenophobes, is of course wrong.
According to the 2012 U.S. Census, 35 percent of Dominican immigrants are employed in service occupations – that’s more than the average 25 percent of all immigrant adults. Even more, dominicanos have some of the highest rates of education attainment among Latinxs. In fact, about 16 percent of Dominicans have earned at least a four-year degree compared with 12.9 percent of all U.S. Latinxs. Despite this, the group remains one of the poorest in the country, earning slightly less than the average Latinx salary, $20,571 compared to $21,488, with a fewer percentage of the group owning homes, 28.3 percent compared to 49.1 percent.
According to the numbers, Dominicans put in work in this country, and their young people, largely bilingual and armed with college degrees, are our future leaders. However, they haven’t been able to reach the “American Dream” in ways immigrant groups before them have. So, Sessions, who’s failing whom?