For years, Democrats have claimed to be the party of the people. Their platforms consistently state the importance of minorities and the polls have come close to guaranteeing them our vote. Recent elections have given them the upper-hand with minorities including the African-American community, the Hispanic community, and females. When former president, Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he won 56% of the female vote, 95% of the African-American vote, and 67% of the Hispanic vote, all in a year when voter turnout for each of these groups had increased significantly. Democrats are fully aware that if they intend to take the election this November, the minority vote is as essential today as it was in 2008

Unfortunately, this idea of guaranteed votes that minorities have offered the Democratic party is exactly why we have been left off the decision table and our issues and concerns are no longer being taken seriously. While playing “Despacito” on a phone before a speech may seem endearing to some, I find it extremely patronizing and a prime example of what Democrats believe will win the Hispanic vote. They have manipulated the Hispanic community to continue voting for them by making empty promises and pretending that playing a silly song will cover-up the truth. One of the most obvious examples is former president, Barack Obama’s, promise to defend and support a system that would allow for undocumented immigrants to become citizens. 

During his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama promised that during his first year in the Oval office, he would create a path to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants that wanted to come out of the shadows. He intensely promoted this idea by continuously citing and referencing young “Dreamers” – youth that had been born outside of the country but raised in the United States.

After his first election in 2008, Obama had several opportunities to make this promise a reality. Despite having a Democratic majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2011, Obama did nothing to provide these students, or any other immigrant, an improved pathway to citizenship. In 2010, Democrats and Independents caucusing with Democrats made up 58 of the Senate’s 100 seats. As a reminder, it only takes 60 votes to pass a bill in the Senate. While political ideology can be divisive, I have a difficult time believing a man with over ten years of political experience cannot sway two votes. Instead, he waited until June 15th, 2012 – five months before the election – to announce DACA, an executive branch memorandum. To expand, DACA is an abbreviation for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Yes, you read that correctly – deferred, not suspended. In other words, he was temporarily shielding these young adults from deportation for two years despite having promised a permanent solution.

Being an immigrant myself, I know what fear of deportation looks like. I know and personally understand the joy of becoming a US citizen and feeling the weight of illegality lifted from your shoulders. Instead of offering a path to citizenship, Barack Obama offered two years and a dark shadow that carried the livelihood of 643,000 friends and family so the Democratic party could hold it over Hispanic voters come election time.  

Much like other politicians, Obama deflected all accountability for his broken promise by continuously blaming Republicans for blocking all proposed bills. However, he failed to mention that instead of offering a permanent solution for undocumented immigrants, he would become the president with the highest number of deportations in the 20th and 21st century – and that’s all previous presidents in the last two centuries combined.

In reality, DACA is nothing more than a band-aid solution that offered Democrats a talking point when pandering for the Hispanic vote. Yes, Obama offered students a chance to stay in the United States and study legally for two years. However, he purposefully did not provide a permanent solution for these individuals. Rather, the Democratic Party has continued to use this vulnerability in the Hispanic community to manipulate the way we vote. As a matter of fact, the last president to offer undocumented immigrants a permanent solution was Ronald Reagan, the father of modern conservatism. It begs the question – why have we continued to vote Democrat when we’ve only ever seen permanent solutions under Republican leadership? It was visible in 2012 when we realized that Obama had broken his promise, and yet we still turned our back on Romney. During Obama’s campaign, his logo was “Change we can believe in” – and that is exactly right. Democrats will create believers, dreamers, and everything in between. But they have proven time and time again that they will never deliver. As Hispanics, we have a very clear choice: we can either keep dreaming, or we can change the way we vote to make things happen. 

Jessica J