Things That Matter

Joe Biden Wants You To Remember He Was Obama’s Vice President Until You Talk About Their Deportation Record

The Latina hired to facilitate outreach to Latinos, African-Americans, and women for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign has resigned out of frustration, according to two anonymous sources at Politico. Vanessa Cárdenas was Joe Biden’s most senior Latina staffer up until last week when she resigned and changed her Twitter bio to say she was “formerly with @joebiden.” According to Cárdenas’ friends, who anonymously spoke with Politico, Cárdenas grew frustrated that her continued reflection of Latinos’ policy concerns around immigration did not affect or change Biden’s policies at all. In response, Biden told the Associated Press that he will make Latino issues a priority for his 2020 campaign, and called Cárdenas “very, very good.”

Cárdenas reportedly was frustrated over Biden’s “hyperfocus” on white and Black voters in Iowa, erasing the importance of the Latino community.

CREDIT: VANESSA CARDENAS / LINKEDIN

“The campaign is just hyper-focused on whites in Iowa and African-Americans and it placed less value on Latino outreach,” an immigration activist and friend paraphrased Cárdenas to POLITICO. “Vanessa kept banging her head against the wall trying to get them to take the community more seriously and Biden just really won’t change when it comes to the way he talks about immigration,” the friend told the outlet. “It became too much.” Latinos are projected to make up 18.3 percent of the electorate in 2020, surpassing African Americans as the largest minority group in the United States. 

Soon after Cárdenas quit, Biden lost his patience with an immigration activist, Carlos Rojas, and interrupted him to tell him, “You should vote for Trump.” Rojas is just one among many immigration activists who have pressed Biden to talk on Obama’s deportation numbers, which are much higher than Trump’s. Rojas had volunteered for the Obama campaign and was horrified to see how the man he believed in went on to become the “Deporter-in-Chief.” Biden’s response to his story? “No. I will not stop all deportations. I will prioritize deportations, only people who have committed a felony or serious crime,” Biden responded.

“Biden just refused to talk about the issue in a compassionate way,” one of Cárdenas’ friends told POLITICO.

Credit: @CHRIS_1791 / TWITTER

“What happened last week was a perfect example of what Vanessa was dealing with,” a second friend of Cárdenas told POLITICO. “Biden just refuses to talk about the issue in a compassionate way.” It seems as if Biden still doesn’t quite understand Cárdenas’ frustration, even though he told the Associated Press that he could “understand her frustration in terms of the number of days” the campaign spends in certain states. “I’m getting the same thing, and I’m sure every candidate is — no matter what state you’re in — why you’re not spending more time in other states,” he told the outlet. “I wish her well. I’m sorry she was frustrated,” he added.

It should be unsurprising that Biden continues this trend of talking around the bush about Latinos and immigration issues, but we feel frustrated for Cárdenas. Cárdenas allegedly wanted him to acknowledge Latinos in his policies, and he’s even euphemizing the word “Latinos” for “other states.”

Biden has repeatedly avoided political events that might focus on his immigration policies, leading him to skip political forums where Latinos or immigrant rights activists have the strongest voice.

CREDIT: @CDNNOW / TWITTER

Biden received a lot of flack for skipping a Miami forum of Latino elected officials in June. In the week leading up to Cárdenas’ resignation, Biden received more negative press for avoiding California’s Democratic Party convention where he would be likely to be held to account for his immigration policies. While a campaign official, who asked to remain anonymous, told POLITICO that the campaign simply wants “to speak to the voters at our events that have real engagement,” we’d like to remind Biden that Latinos are real. They’re also real fed up, and demand to be heard. 

Biden’s understanding of Cárdenas’ concern about not spending more time in certain states is, at face value, true. To talk about California and Miami voters as “skewed” is to imply that the standard is white, and Latino voices are outliers. While Latinos poll as divided between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, a lot can happen in just a few months. Biden, we’re waiting for you to meaningfully acknowledge Latinos’ concerns over your immigration policy.

READ: Joe Biden’s Campaign Announced Their Latino Outreach Before They Secured The URL And Twitter Account

Guatemala’s President Is Going To Have To Settle The Immigration Negotiation With Trump

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Guatemala’s President Is Going To Have To Settle The Immigration Negotiation With Trump

dr.giammattei / Instagram

Tuesday marked a new era of leadership in Guatemala as the Latin country swore in Alejandro Giammattei, a conservative doctor and former prison system director from the right-wing Vamos party. The 63-year-old won the presidency on his fourth attempt back in August with bold promises of changing a corrupt government and restoring the rule-of-law in city streets. 

“Today, we are putting a full stop on corrupt practices so they disappear from the face of this country,” Giammattei said at his swearing-in ceremony that had a five-hour delay.

His ceremony somewhat overshadowed by delays and protests against ex-President Jimmy Morales, who for four years dodged accusations of corruption. The scene of protestors throwing eggs and voicing anger at the outgoing administration was a reminder of the displeasure against the country’s deep-seated political corruption. It’s also a key reason why many are looking to Giammattei to bring change to the struggling country. 

As Giammattei takes office, there are questions on what his presidency will mean to Guatemala in the short and long term as issues over the future of an asylum deal with the United States comes into focus. 

One of the biggest issues confronting Guatemala and one that Giammattei will have to address early is the Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) that was signed by Morales last July with the U.S. government. The agreement, which was highly opposed in Guatemala, lets U.S. immigration officials send Honduran and Salvadoran migrants that are requesting asylum at the U.S.-Mexican border to apply for protection here instead. There is now increasing skepticism as reports say that the U.S. wants to expand the deal to include Mexican asylum seekers as well.

Last year, there were many Guatemalans that were part of a 3,000 migrant caravan that made its way up from Latin America to the U.S. The caravan consisted of people that were looking to claim asylum and became a symbol of the growing migration crisis at the southern border. President Trump frequently attacked the caravan and eventually threatened to impose tariffs on Guatemala if it didn’t agree to the asylum deal.

According to the Guatemalan Migration Institute, “as of Friday, 128 Salvadoran and Honduran asylum seekers had been sent as part of the agreement,” with only a limited number actually applying for asylum there and others returning home. Giammattei has previously said that he’s willing to make changes to the agreement but on Tuesday said he would revisit details later. 

The country, one of Latin America’s poorest nations, is a key part of President Trump’s plan to curb illegal immigration and asylum claims. mostly from those coming to the U.S. Southern border. The issue for many living in Guatemala is how to let those seeking asylum when itself has become a major source of U.S. bound migrants. 

Poverty levels have only grown in the last 20 years and income inequality levels continue to be a big problem in the country. 

One of the big platform issues that Giammattei ran his campaign on was helping the shorten income inequality gap and poverty levels that have only grown in the last 20 years. Fifty-nine percent of Guatemalan citizens live below the poverty line and almost 1 million children under the age of 5 are believed to live with chronic malnutrition, according to the AP. 

There is also the rampant problem of street violence and cartel gangs that have had a major effect on the daily lives of many in the country. Giammattei plans to address this with reforms that include designating “street gangs as terrorist groups.”

“This is the moment to rescue Guatemala from the absurd. It is the moment to combat corruption and malnutrition,” Giammattei said on Tuesday in his first address to the country as president. “There is no peace without security, I will present a law that aims to declare street gangs for what they are – terrorist groups.”

There is hope that Giammattei will turn a new page in Guatemala that will see change come to all in the country that has faced uncertainty for years. But only time will tell if this is indeed new leadership or business as usual.

“We will bring back the peace this country so dearly needs,” Giammattei said. “We will govern with decency, with honourability, and with ethical values.”

READ: In Efforts To Double Latino Representation In Hollywood, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils New Historic Initiative

American Latinos United Launches Committee To Take Down President Trump In 2020

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American Latinos United Launches Committee To Take Down President Trump In 2020

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Monday, American Latinos United (ALU) made the announcement that it would be forming a committee to create a new super PAC, “focused on defeating President Donald Trump by activating Latino voters in key battleground states.” As the 2020 election cycles draw closer and closer, political groups are already looking to key battleground states where Latino voters will play a key role in determining the next president. 

Backed by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and entrepreneur Fernando Espuelas, the new committee will be targeting Latinos in six key battleground states: Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The ALU does not appear to be backing or supporting any specific Democratic candidate as of now. Instead, it will be placing emphasis on Latino voter engagement in these key states. 

This year will be a historic one for Latinos as for the first time ever, they will become the largest minority group of potential voters in the United States. The ALU wants to be sure that a majority of those eligible to vote actually do so. 

The 2020 election has a lot on the line besides just the presidential nomination. For Latinos, issues like healthcare, immigration, and the economy are some of the biggest factors they’ll be considering when heading to the ballot box this November. The ALU plans to energize Latino voters on these issues through specifically targeted technology, culturally appropriate messaging, and on-the-ground work to turn out voters. The committee will also have ads that will be played in English and Spanish across traditional media and digital platforms.

The ALU points to the 2016 election as an example of the importance of having Latinos come out and vote. The number of eligible voters of Latino background who did not cast a ballot in 2016 was overwhelmingly high, 14 million, considering the anti-Latino sentiment heard from Trump on the campaign trail. 

According to the Pew Research Center, over half of the 27 million eligible Hispanic voters stayed home. That may be credited to not only Trump but a lack of enthusiasm when it came to Hillary Clinton. This year hopes to be different as 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in 2020, compared with 30 million African-Americans.

“President Trump captured about 30 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2016. If he falls under that threshold in 2020, key battleground states will be out of his reach,” Espuelas said in a press release. “With the Electoral College in play, we intend to empower Latinos in battleground states to defeat Trump with their votes.”

The ALU called out President Trump and his administration for “incompetence and corruption.” It warns if voter turnout this year is anything like 2016, Trump will surely be re-elected. 

In advancing its message, the ALU hopes to also hope to connect with Latinos on single-issue voters that have previously not voted Democrat. In doing so, they will also educate voters on the “moral danger that Trump represents” and the consequences of reelection victory for his administration. 

 “Our country is on a precipice. President Trump’s incompetence and corruption are threatening our democracy and the American way of life,” Villaraigosa said. “Latino voters can make all the difference – if we know how to engage and activate the millions of people that sit out most elections. Through ALU, we’ll connect deeply with our community and create the mechanisms to turn out the vote in historic proportions.”

While most Latinos tend to vote Democratic, that shouldn’t make their vote an automatic given. Many Latinos have cast doubt over the party in recent years, some even pointing anger towards former President Obama who deported more than three million undocumented immigrants. 

The ALU wants to change the narrative on the 2020 election not being just about a party but about having your voice heard. The 2018 midterm elections saw some momentum when it came to the Latino vote as about 40.4 percent of eligible Latino voters came out to the polls, about 11.7 million voters in total, according to the Pew Research Center

“American Latinos United can stop him. We are everywhere. All across the country—around kitchen tables, in-office conference rooms, on busways and buses, in town halls— American Latinos are talking, planning, gathering force and strength,” the ALU website reads. “We have the power to stop Trump. And we can shine the unwavering light of truth on the corrupt Republican party that enables him.

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