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On November 8, Latinos can become the wall between Donald Trump and the White House

“My mother’s dream has always been to see my dreams come true. My successes have been her successes. And, Donald Trump doesn’t understand a simple concept about our community: You do not mess with our families.”
Digital Editor for America's Voice.
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Latinos, immigration and workers' rights advocates and their supporters protest against Donald Trump outside the Republican Presidential Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, September 16, 2015 (arquive) Crédito: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump declared Latinos public enemy number one the day he descended the escalators of Trump Tower and called us drug dealers, criminals and rapists. He said our parents, siblings, children and friends were strangers to be cast out and mocked.

There’s been a lot of speculation over the years about Trump’s actual wealth, but if there’s one thing he’s truly rich in, its ignorance.

The truth is that Latinos embody America’s greatness. Polls show that Latinos “are generally optimistic about their opportunities to succeed, and the future for their family — even more so than Americans overall. Six in 10 Hispanics say their opportunities to succeed in life are better than those of their parents.”

I know that feeling well. I was the first person in my family to be born here. My mom always taught me that came with great responsibility, because by virtue of simply being born in the United States, I had opportunities she never had. My mother’s dream has always been to see my dreams come true. My successes have been her successes. And, Donald Trump doesn’t understand a simple concept about our community: You do not mess with our families.

As a demographic 55 million strong, I see our optimism everywhere. Undocumented immigrants contribute $12 billion in taxes annually and help keep Social Security alive. We embody the entrepreneurial spirit, with Latinas creating new businesses at three times the national rate. We are the hands that feed and build America.

Trump doesn’t see us, and what he does see he twists into hatred. He attacked respected journalist Jorge Ramos. He claimed Judge Gonzalo Curiel couldn’t do his job because of his Mexican heritage. Judge Curiel was born in the United States to Mexican parents. So, that line of attack meant Trump had expanded his racism from immigrants, to native-born Americans of Latino ancestry. Despite all this, Trump has laughably declared he’ll win “the Hispanics,” even after 16 months of insults. The list goes on -- but we can put a stop to it this November.

The 27 million Latinos eligible to vote in this year’s election have the power to become the wall between Donald Trump and the White House. Think of everything at stake this November: the immigrant families fighting to stay together; the DREAMers who could be torn from the only country they call home; the victories LGBT Americans like me have made under the Obama Administration.

We are the unstoppable future of the United States — it’s estimated that one Latino turns 18 years old every 30 seconds -- but we cannot secure that future unless we get out and vote. Most importantly, this is our chance to show current and future political leaders that hatred, xenophobia and bigotry will always be a losing strategy.

It’s heartening to see reports from key states that Latinos are, in fact, showing up for early voting. That’s one reason why Texas -- yes, Texas! -- is now considered a battleground state. It’s also why Virginia and Colorado are safely in the Democratic camp. The winner of electoral votes in Florida and Nevada will also be determined by Latinos. The road to the White House does go through our community -- and we’ve built an impenetrable wall that Donald Trump will never go through or around.

Of course, anyone who is surprised by this hasn’t been paying attention. The polling firm, Latino Decisions, has been publishing surveys all year that show not only is our community engaged, we get the importance. And, after Mike Pence made the dismissive comment about “whipping out that Mexican thing,” the hashtag #ThatMexicanThing blew up on Twitter, evoking stories from thousands and thousands of Latinos who made it clear they weren’t having it.

Our community is ready to send an unmistakable message to Trump and the Republicans who enabled him. We already know we’re a force to be reckoned with — now let’s prove it.

Disclaimer: We selected this Op-Ed to be published in our opinion section as a contribution to public debate. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of its author(s) and/or the organization(s) they represent and do not reflect the views or the editorial line of Univision Noticias.