Latinos Are Warming up to Trump | Opinion

Four years ago, I withdrew my support of Donald Trump's candidacy for president. I had serious doubts about his ability to appreciate the values and aspirations of Americans of Hispanic origin—and I made them public. After four years of the Trump presidency, I now realize how wrong I was. President Trump has delivered major results for the Latino community and has strongly defended the values that Latinos cherish. As a result, I have become convinced, as have an increased number of Hispanics across the nation, that, rather than a foe, the president is a great champion for all Latinos.

The fear of Trump started to evaporate for many Latinos when they began seeing that on immigration, far from the monster conceived by the Democrats, he is actually very reasonable. The debate over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program opened their eyes to the real Trump. DACA is the program created by President Obama through executive action which allowed the so-called "DREAM-ers," migrants who entered the country illegally as children through no fault of their own, to remain in the United States without the fear of deportation.

After rescinding the program due to the unconstitutional manner in which it was created, he sought to find a permanent legislative fix for these individuals. In fact, he proposed giving over one million DREAM-ers a path to citizenship. His administration worked hard to get a deal done in Congress, but Democrats refused to go along because the president was also requesting funding to build the wall system along our southern border, which they now opposed. It wasn't lost on many Latinos that Democrats had supported the same type of border fencing in the past. It became evident to many of them that the president was being a practical dealmaker, while Democrats continued to care only about keeping the issue alive to pander politically to them. Trump was providing a real solution. Democrats were just demagoguing the issue.

Meanwhile, Latinos also noticed that despite the Left's obsessive claim that Trump is somehow anti-immigrant, President Obama had deported more migrants than Trump at the same moment in his presidency. Once again, Hispanics paid more attention to the numbers than to the rhetoric.

What ended up changing the mind of many Latinos about the president, nevertheless, was the booming economy unleashed by his pro-growth policies, which led to the lowest unemployment rate for Latinos in history, 3.9 percent in September of last year, and also to the their lowest poverty rate since this particular data point began being recorded, 18.3 percent in 2017, the largest year-to-year drop in poverty for a demographic group that year.

While it's true that the forced economic shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has erased most of this progress, many Latinos will not forget that it happened and how it happened. That's why, like many other Americans, they've come to believe that of the two candidates for president, the only one who can help bring about a dramatic economic recovery happen is Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The final factor that has led to more Hispanics embracing Trump is not of the president's doing, but is the Democrats' fault. Latinos are seriously concerned about the Democratic Party's shift to the extreme Left—especially those whose families left Latin America, escaping massive and inefficient governments and radical leftist regimes. Many are perplexed when they see Democrats propose government control of health care and doing away with private health insurance, abolishing or defunding the police, radical environmental plans like the "Green New Deal" that would eliminate millions of jobs through excessive government regulation and intervention, and abortion on-demand, including late-term abortion. To many, it's as if Democrats had embraced deceased Venezuela strongman Hugo Chavez's much touted "Socialism of the 21st Century."

They are flabbergasted, moreover, when Democrats fail to denounce, and some even encourage, the radical activists who have been engaging in violence and looting across the country, destroying private property and businesses, defacing monuments, burning churches and tearing down statues. They or their parents came to America because they knew that our system is firmly grounded in law and order. They don't want to see their cities and communities resemble Managua, Caracas or many of the northern towns of Mexico.

At a time of great social and cultural upheaval, Latinos are seeing in Trump someone who is willing to defend everything in America that attracted their forebearers: a small, but efficient, government; a vibrant free economy that can lift people out of poverty and grow the middle class; a state that guarantees the rule of law, not of man; and a stable society nurtured by strong families, faith and a proud unifying history, despite its many serious shortcomings.

Four years ago, I, like many other Hispanics, couldn't have imagined that President Trump would end up doing so much for our community. It shouldn't surprise anyone, therefore, if this time around Trump receives a significantly higher percentage of Latino voter support than he did in 2016. Liberal elites who treat Hispanics as a monolithic voting community and assume they are all Democrats may not like it, but it's a fact: Latinos are warming up to Trump!

Alfonso Aguilar is the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and former chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship in the George W. Bush presidential administration.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.