Op-Ed

‘Trump has done great harm to Latinos. He doesn’t care about us’

In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s destruction in 2017, President Trump tosses paper towels at a news conference in Puerto Rico.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s destruction in 2017, President Trump tosses paper towels at a news conference in Puerto Rico. AP

After years of broken promises, vicious attacks and destructive policies, Donald Trump is sending Mike Pence to Miami to try to win over Latino voters. It would be laughable if he and his administration hadn’t done so much damage to our community. We know better than to trust his lies.

Make no mistake, Trump and Pence are no friends of the Latino community. Their agenda has been toxic for us — on healthcare, on the economy, on immigration. The list goes on and on.

Trump has waged an all-out attack to undermine healthcare for millions of Latinos — increasing costs through his sabotage efforts and trying to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions. His policies would decimate the significant gains 4.2 million Latinos have made since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, making healthcare more expensive and less accessible.

In fact, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, our community saw the largest drop in uninsured people of any group — which means we have the most to lose if Trump has his way.

Trump’s lies have made it harder for Latinos to get ahead. Look at his tax scam, which gives millions of dollars in handouts to his rich and powerful friends while increasing taxes for many Latinos. Worse, Republicans said they might cut Medicare and Social Security to pay for it.

But it’s Trump’s immigration policies that show exactly how little he thinks of us. His separation of children from their parents and “zero tolerance” policies mark one of the cruelest chapters in our country’s history — a blatant effort to target Latino communities. He has recklessly ended DACA and eliminated protections for recipients of Temporary Protected Status while offering no resolution to the thousands of lives he’s hurt.

Our nation needs leaders with compassion, but Trump has offered nothing but cruelty and chaos.

What does Trump do when his actions are exposed? Turn to the same old lies and dog whistles we always see from politicians who can’t defend their records.

Venezuelans now know that when Trump says he’s with them, he’s not being honest, because he refuses to grant TPS to Venezuelans living in Florida and elsewhere in the country.

The Puerto Rican diaspora now knows that Trump held up disaster relief aid for months — aid they and their family members needed after devastating hurricanes hit the island and Florida — all because of his disdain for Puerto Rican officials.

Cuban Americans now know that Trump’s assault on our asylum system has a colossal impact on the family-reunification process. This administration’s reckless and unplanned policy changes has left in limbo 20,000 Cubans waiting to be reunited with their families.

But while Trump and Pence attack Latino communities time and again, Democrats have your back. We’ve passed the American Dream and Promise Act to provide hardworking immigrants a much-deserved pathway to citizenship; a disaster relief bill; a package of bills to protect people’s access to healthcare and help make prescription drugs more affordable; and legislation to help close the gender pay gap.

These are some of the policies that are helping Latinos and can change our country for generations. Our communities can’t afford four more years of Trump’s oppressive and regressive administration, which is why we must vote to hold him accountable in 2020.

Tom Perez is chair of the Democratic National Committee.

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