The Democratic Party’s reaction to President Donald Trump’s announcement of National Hispanic Heritage Month was flawless in its predictability. The last thing the Democrats need, after all, is for this Republican president to do anything that may endear him to a larger segment of the Hispanic population. Americans of Hispanic descent, along with naturalized citizens from Latin America, represent the fastest-growing demographic in the United States. Although not monolithic in its political allegiance, the Hispanic community will become increasingly influential in future elections.
The White House has designated September 15 thru October 15, 2017, National Hispanic Heritage Month. Accompanying this decision, the president issued a proclamation, acknowledging Hispanic ties and contributions to America. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) was unhappy – even disgusted – with the statement. The move, according to the president, serves to “recognize the countless contributions of Hispanic Americans that help make our Nation a thriving and secure land of opportunity.”
The DNC has branded Trump a hypocrite for pretending to care about Hispanic just one week after revealing his decision to wind down the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Spokesperson Francisco Pelayo called the proclamation “downright insulting,” in a statement Wednesday. “If only Trump’s proclamation contained guiding principles instead of empty words, it could be taken seriously,” Pelayo’s statement continued:
“Just last week, his administration shattered the dreams of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants — many of whom are Hispanic — who want nothing more than the opportunity to contribute to the only country they have ever called home.”
PLAYING POLITICS WITH IMMIGRATION
Pelayo did not make it clear why the DNC assumes Hispanic Americans need “guiding principles” or what those principles should be. One could assume that the first of such principles would be voting Democrat. Additionally, the spokesperson falsely claimed that the dreams of “immigrants” would be shattered by Trump’s ending of the DACA program, which shields illegal immigrants, who were brought to the United States by their parents, from deportation.
The logic behind the DNC statement simply doesn’t work, however. By definition, an immigrant is one who migrates to a foreign land to live there of their own free will. As DACA supporters constantly remind us, the ‘dreamers’ protected by the program should not be punished for being brought to the U.S. by their parents, since it was not their choice to come. That being the case, they cannot correctly be described as “immigrants.” Consider, also, the fact that they did not arrive through the lawful immigration process.
Dreamers Aren’t Immigrants
In reality, not a single immigrant is, in any way, affected by the status of the DACA program, since it does not deal with immigrants. The Democratic Party sees the Hispanic American population –both legal and illegal – as nothing more than political capital. One can only speculate how quickly the Democrats would move to end the DACA program, were its almost 800,000 beneficiaries know for their vocal support of the Republican Party.
There is, perhaps, an entirely separate discussion to be had on whether Hispanic Heritage Month, like Black History Month, is racially divisive and should, therefore, be recognized at all. Whatever the talking-points on that subject, the DACA program itself was never about allowing anyone to dream; it was about the securing of a second term in office for former President Barack Obama. DACA was a stop-gap measure, by Obama’s own admission. Anyone who formed dreams for their future around such a program was making assumptions they had no right to make.