Los Angeles, CA – On Thursday an open letter signed by Latino celebrities including actor Benjamin Bratt, Jane the Virgin’s Ivonne Coll, actress America Ferrera, activist Dolores Huerta, comedian George Lopez, Aubrey Plaza, Guardian of the Galaxy actress Zoe Saldana, guitarist Carlos Santana, and others, was released by the advocacy organization People For the American Way.
The letter addressed to the Latino community calls on voters to stand up against the anti-immigrant fear-mongering from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and all the leading Republican presidential candidates by voting in 2016. During the call, People For the American Way (PFAW) President Michael Keegan said that “no one aspiring to our nation’s highest office should seek to gain political points by attacking immigrants, but that’s what we’re hearing day after day during the GOP primary.”
Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta expressed her concerns about Donald Trump’s rhetoric and how it has hurt Latino and immigrant communities. “Donald Trump has become the face of the Republican Party. Sadly, it’s been a race to the bottom with all the major Republican presidential candidates.” During the call, the also founder of the National Farm Workers Association stated that “Trump, Cruz, Rubio and other Republican presidential contenders have spent countless hours using their national platform to debate who can stake out the most anti-immigrant policies. It sickens me to hear them paint immigrants as terrorists.”
In a separate statement actress Ivonne Coll invited the Latino community to stand up against the attacks of Republican candidates by using their voting power in 2016. Emmy-winning actress America Ferrera urged young latinos to register and vote. “We have the numbers and potential to make a difference.”
Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana added an emotional statement : “To Donald Trump and the Republican candidates Spirit requires integration and total acceptance of everyone on this blessed planet. I invite you to utilize your power of wealth, to restore, amend and heal your relationship with all your sisters and brothers! It’s never too late to graduate from the university of fear! I believe in you! Your light can make a difference on our great nation-when the power of love replaces the love for power. Divinity is who you really are … LIGHT. Peace to you, your families and all your immigrant employees.”
The open letter, written in both English and Spanish is also signed by Parks & Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza, model Eva LaRue and director Miguel Sandoval.
The Open Letter to the Latino Community:
In this year’s 2016 Republican presidential primary, the candidates crossed a line. In trying to win the nomination, every one of the leading candidates dug themselves into a deep hole pandering to the anti-immigrant base of the Republican Party that idolizes Donald Trump.
There’s no coming back from this. We’ve seen clearly that all the leading Republican candidates have sided with the far-right at the expense of the Latino community. They’re capitalizing on negative stereotypes and inaccurate information about our community in order to win votes from the GOP base.
Of course, this downward spiral began with Trump. From accusing Mexicans of being rapists to kicking Jorge Ramos out of his press conference, Trump has spent the entirety of his presidential bid stoking unfounded anti-immigrant fears and deeply offending our communities.
We must not, though, let Trump’s xenophobia overshadow the extreme policies being pushed by every single one of the GOP’s leading presidential candidates. Latinos should understand that Donald Trump embodies the true face of the entire Republican Party. Sadly, he speaks for the GOP’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino agenda.
Candidates – including supposed “moderates” like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio – used dangerous, divisive rhetoric and proposed harmful policies in their efforts to win over Trump’s radical supporters. Jeb Bush’s unapologetic use of the term “anchor babies” aligns with his belief that undocumented immigrants here in the U.S. should not have a path to citizenship. His statement that “we should not have a multicultural society” is indefensible. Marco Rubio said that “we must secure our border, the physical border, with a wall, absolutely.” He’s ruled out any path to citizenship or legal status during his term(s) as president if elected. Chris Christie suggested that immigrants should be tracked like FedEx packages.
The candidates cannot come back from these hardline stances. Trump is certainly an outlier for his racist remarks. But the rest of the Republican presidential candidates went off the deep end with him.
Our communities have the power to decide who wins in the 2016 election. We hope that power is used to vote for candidates who support our community, share our values, and will fight for working families. Neither Trump nor any of his fellow Republican candidates meet that standard.
Even if the eventual Republican nominee backtracks on his or her anti-immigrant sentiments, we must not forget that we’ve now seen that in the face of bigotry, the Republican candidates have chosen to turn their backs on our community. The current slate of GOP candidates has proven to us that they’ve joined and embraced the party of Trump.