During this week’s Republican presidential debate, candidate Vivek Ramaswamy vowed to go a “step further” than his Republican rivals in ending birthright citizenship. Ramaswamy already publicly stated he would deport children born to undocumented parents, despite such an act being unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. With this announcement he joins the four front runners for the Republican nominee for president: Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, and Nikki Haley in their attacks against immigrants.
The top five countries of origin for undocumented immigrants are Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, and Honduras according to a 2021 Department of Homeland Security report. There is no doubt in question that Ramaswamy, and the Republican Party by default, are attacking a specific demographic: Latino immigrants. Ramaswamy’s own words out him when he specifically references Mexico in correlation to his stance.
“Well, if the kid of a Mexican diplomat doesn’t enjoy birthright citizenship, then neither does the kid of an illegal immigrant who broke the law to come here,” said Ramaswamy.
Republicans have shown rigid resolve to roll back human rights for all populations—the dissolution of affirmative action, attacks on minority rights, and abortion access. There is a real threat for immigrant families with children who have birthright citizenship that cannot and should not be ignored.
Meanwhile the Biden administration is asking America’s colleges to take more measures to ensure their student body is racially diverse to counteract such extreme measures taken by Republicans. Just this week President Joe Biden made history by becoming the first sitting president to join the picket line. Unionized Latino workers experienced more stable employment and maintained higher wages than their non-union counterparts according to a UCLA study done during the COVID-19 downturn and recovery. Additional findings showed union workers of other racial and ethnic groups also experienced greater employment stability early in the pandemic, but the effects of unionization were strongest among Latinos.
On one hand the Republican Party is doing everything to prevent Latinos from entering the U.S., gaining equal access to education, and opportunities. At the same time, President Biden appointed the most diverse cabinet in American history, and a significant portion of President Biden’s judicial appointments are Latino. The Biden-Harris administration has also taken significant measures to protect Dreamers—including calling on Congress to give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship and announcing a plan to expand health coverage for DACA recipients.
Latinos share President Biden and Democrats‘ values, and the major party and administration are delivering for them. During the Biden-Harris administration the U.S. has achieved the lowest Latino unemployment rate on record, the fastest creation rate of Hispanic-owned businesses in more than a decade, reduced the Latino child poverty rate by more than 7 percent, expanded access to health care and disability benefits, reduced homelessness, and achieved historic unemployment rates for veterans, including for the nearly 1.6 million Latino veterans. Voting trends in Latino-heavy populations like Nevada and Arizona make it clear Latinos line-up behind Democrats.
We all want the same thing: a safe place to raise our children and to contribute to society. As immigrants arrive in the U.S., a tradition as old as this country, and begin their civic engagement, there is no doubt the Democratic Party is the most in sync with the values of an American Dream. I know because I am an immigrant and the threat of having to live in a country where the principles on which it was founded are being stripped away is daunting. We must continue to fight for our community and our rights, they are on the ballot in the coming election.
Jorge Neri was an appointee in the Barack Obama administration and served on President Joe Biden’s campaign and transition team. He is a political strategist, Mexican immigrant, and advocate for the voting power of Latinos.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.