by Carlos D. Conde
Once upon a time, Mexican Americans, the largest U.S. ethnic group, liked to consider themselves as the forgotten minority. Actually, it was the 1960s when the Democrats under the reins of the John F. Kennedy and the Lyndon Johnson administrations ruled.
Cubans hadn’t yet come into the forefront, and the rest of the Latino communities (the Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and the sparse South American groups) were inconsequential in the U.S. social orbit.
Here we are in the early 21st century more than 50 years later, wondering if Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and the other Latino sub groups are still in a stage of evolvement although one could argue we have surpassed this based on all the socio-economic advances made since then including the educational attainments.
One clarification: U.S. integrated Latinos that hailed from south of Panama, particularly the Cono Sur countries like Chile and Argentina, don’t generally consider themselves among the deprived U.S. Latino minority group largely because of an exaggerated class status.
Nevertheless, one might say we are close to being (if not fully) integrated, though some are still feeling denied and discriminated in certain areas of American life, including the civil and political sectors.
All this makes it the more interesting as to what role the continued ascension and involvement the U.S. Latino community will play in the Trump administration, a new era that plays like one of his TV reality shows and all his other far flung entrepreneurial enterprises.
Thus far, it looks as if Latinos will not get special attention or favors from the Trumpies. In the true tradition of the high stakes national game, which plays hardball politics, Latinos overwhelming rejected him at the polls, so why should the Donald smooch them up?
Hillary Clinton got 70 percent of the Latino vote, so Trump is not beholden to the Latino community. Politics being politics, the Donald shows no signs of Latino inclusion in his administration except for some perfunctory appointments.
Several months into his administration, Trump named a Cuban American, Alexander Acosta, as Secretary Of Labor but only after his original choice, Restaurateur Andrew Puzler, backed out.
Helen Aguirre Ferre, Miami-born to Nicaraguan parents, and Carlos Diaz Rosillo, are senior White House advisors. Other than these, the roster of high ranking Latinos on the Trump team thus far is thin and not looking to get any better.
Even Cuban Americans who seemingly would have the closest affinity to Trump because of their regional connections and a common conservative political brand seem to be not that in tune with or in favor of his administration.
The largest group among U.S. Latinos, Mexicans Americans, overwhelmingly chose Hillary Clinton over Trump, so they can only hope for some political charity from him and early on; his administration has been stingy with high ranking or key political appointments for this ethnic group.
In turn, President Trump has done little to endear himself to the Latino constituency, particularly Mexican Americans whom, by association, he has derogated with a group of criminals and druggies who illegally traverse the U.S.-Mexican border corrupting the communities.
Before and after his election, he promised to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border over 2,000 miles from Texas to California to keep out unsavory border transgressors, and he hasn’t completely backed down on this when almost everyone else considers it an unachievable political folly.
A glaring question about Trump is how much he really cares about the U.S. Latino community or how conversant he is with their socio-economic and political issues, and conversely, how much the Latino community cares about Trump and his administration as long as their socio-economic mobility is not adversely affected, and hopefully advances.
It may be a tit for tat matter as politics many times is.
The latest Census count put the Hispanic population at 57 million and among the fastest growing groups, and 66 percent were born in the U.S.
A Pew Research Center poll on Hispanics and their outlook on a Trump administration and on how they think they’ll fare (and taken before his inauguration) think it’ll be bad news for the unauthorized Latino if the Trump regime builds that wall and tightens its illegal immigration enforcement.
For the certified U.S. Latino, it should be steady as she goes on the Trump ship as its upward mobility continues while the illegals will, as usual, have to fare for themselves. •