First State Latino community responds to Trump victory
Immigration has been one of the presidential election’s most divisive issues.
The Latino population in Delaware is growing, as is concern about their civil rights under a Donald Trump administration.
Delaware Hispanic Commission co-chair Charito Calvachi-Mateyko volunteered at the polls Tuesday, helping out first-time Latino voters who she says were excited to have their voices heard.
She explained to voters that the red lit-up X meant a ‘yes’ vote, not a ‘no’ – and that pictures of Clinton and Trump wouldn’t be on the ballot, unlike in many Latin American countries.
But she says as the results came in, there was growing paranoia about deportation – with Latino families fearing for their safety in the United States.
“I was crying with all of them yesterday before we got the news," Calvachi-Mateyko said. "We were together until 9, and the mothers were crying. We had to hold them. Just weeping, they were crying with the worry that it will happen.”
But she adds she believes what Trump has said previously – like building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants – has simply been campaign rhetoric and now he’ll need to come up with policy measures that make sense for all Americans.
Calvachi-Mateyko is optimistic that Republicans will realize the economic contribution of hard-working Latinos, like their significant contribution to the poultry industry in the First State.
“I was speaking with a lot of Republicans and they want to see something that has common sense for everyone. They understand the millions of dollars the Latino community brings to the economy, they do. They are compassionate people as well in many, many ways.”
Rosalia Velazquez is Executive Director for La Esperanza in Georgetown, Delaware. She says she’s still trying to digest what has happened.
“It’s absolutely a wait and see – I mean, we know what we’ve heard in the past," Velazquez said. "And what we’ve heard in the past is cause for some concern but it’s been less than 24 hours. There’s no way to predict what our future will look like moving forward.”