EHN Staff

Alberto Moreno 

Latino-us. We know hardship. We have survived hunger, wars, genocide, poverty and the theft of our ancestral lands. We have walked a thousand miles barefoot across deserts and mountains to be here. We have survived unimaginable, unspeakable things. Coyotes, Salva trucha, the cold of night and the unbearable unrelenting heat of the Sonora desert to come here. Adversity is not new to us. Political persecution is not new to our gente.

I tell you this so that you understand that we are not weak. To dispel any notion you may have that we give up easily. So that you understand that we have been forged by adversity and necessity both. That as a people we have known need and pravity. And that we have been made, not weaker, but stronger, by it. Necessity and adversity are our mother and father. We are their children.

As frightened white men in the nation’s capital threaten to build a wall against us to try to circumscribe our humanity, our god given rights, we prepare to resist. But our resistance shall be unrecognizable to you. You can not conceive of it because you cannot conceive of love, as resistance. Or the power of simple presence. Of non violent persistence. While you build walls and invest in guns to point at Mexican us, at Guatemalan us, at Salvadorean us, we simply continue to love. To love and bring forward life. Beautiful precious life. While you invest in drones and men with guns, we invest in our US-born children. Because we know that they, not us, are the future of this country. We understand what you cannot comprehend: that love, not hate, wins. Every time.

While you prepare to wage a four year campaign against Immigrant-us, we plan for 7 generations to come. While you seek to criminalize our work, to disincentivize our vote, we are going about our business starting and raising our families. And because we love more than you, we will not only survive but thrive. Proof of this is to be found in our birth rates which now account for the largest percentage of our growth here in America. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanic births have surpassed immigration as the driver of Latino growth in the U.S. Further, in the decade from 2000-2010, the Mexican- American population grew by 7.2 million as a result of births and 4.2 million as a result of new immigrant arrivals.

So while small, fearful, bigoted men set themselves to building walls, we are building bridges across time made from our sacred DNA. While your fear builds walls, we are building loving families and communities. We are readying, not through the armaments of hate, but through our love-making and honest work, to make America great again. Trump has accused us of stealing American jobs. The truth is that a job is not something you steal. A job is something you work! While in Trump’s America, frightened white men spout off about making America great again, Latino-us are actually the ones doing the work of building and rebuilding your roads, of building Trump towers, great and small, we who are picking America’s crops and putting food on America’s table. Work that white Americans are irrefutably unwilling to do. And as long as that is true, America will continue to invite us here.

You may say, immigrants bring crime into our country and they are all on welfare. The absolute truth is that according to peer reviewed, independent studies, large cities with large concentrations of immigrants have lower crime rates.

According to the American Immigration Council, July 2015: 

Between 1990 and 2013, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population grew from 7.9 percent to 13.1 percent and the number of unauthorized immigrants more than tripled from 3.5 million to 11.2 million.

During the same period, FBI data indicates that the violent crime rate declined 48 percent—which included falling rates of aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder. Likewise, the property crime rate fell 41 percent, including declining rates of motor vehicle theft, larceny/robbery, and burglary.

Additionally, immigrants are Less Likely than the Native-Born to Be Behind Bars: 

According to an original analysis of data from the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the authors of this report, roughly 1.6 percent of immigrant males age 18-39 are incarcerated, compared to 3.3 percent of the native-born. This disparity in incarceration rates has existed for decades, as evidenced by data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 decennial censuses. In each of those years, the incarceration rates of the native-born were anywhere from two to five times higher than that of immigrants.

The 2010 Census data reveals that incarceration rates among the young, less-educated Mexican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan men who make up the bulk of the unauthorized population are significantly lower than the incarceration rate among native-born young men without a high-school diploma. In 2010, less-educated native-born men age 18-39 had an incarceration rate of 10.7 percent—more than triple the 2.8 percent rate among foreign-born Mexican men, and five times greater than the 1.7 percent rate among foreign-born Salvadoran and Guatemalan men.

The other allegation that is made by uneducated white folks is that most immigrants come here to use welfare or food stamps. Yet, speaking factually, nothing could be further from the truth: According to 2013 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, 40.2 percent of SNAP recipients are white, 25.7 percent are black, 10.3 percent are Hispanic, 2.1 percent are Asian and 1.2 percent are Native American.

This is the truth of us. Everything else is a series of fabricated “alternative facts.”

So build your walls. We will continue to do what we have always done. Which is to love.

And no wall can stop us because no wall can stop love.

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