Photo courtesy of Voces De La Frontera.
We are husband and wife, and this week we are in Cleveland, protesting the Republican National Convention, and the Republican Party’s pick for President.
We each came to this country from Mexico almost 20 years ago in search of a better life. We met in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and together have four beautiful children. In that time, things have gotten harder for undocumented people like us. President Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president. Just last month, the Supreme Court blocked a program that would have kept families like ours together and brought hard-working immigrants into the economy legally.
And now there’s Trump.
Since Trump declared his candidacy, our family has felt the open racial hostility his campaign encourages. Extremist white supremacist groups are flocking to Trump, whom they credit for bringing their fringe ideas into the mainstream. Racist organizations are also traveling to Cleveland, some even carrying guns. But we will not be intimidated.
We are undocumented, but today we march unafraid. We march to send a message to Donald Trump and the Republican Party: We are going to keep fighting for our families, for our people, and for the future of this whole country.
Immigrants pick the food everyone eats. We pay taxes even though we are not eligible for many of the services our taxes provide. A full 40 percent of Wisconsin’s dairy workers are immigrants.
Working families—including immigrants—make this country great, not Trump.
For us, this campaign is very personal. Trump’s election would be a disaster for our family and for millions like us. And it’s not only immigrants he has sought to scapegoat.
We want to reach out to Muslims, African Americans, women and the LGBT community, those concerned about global warming, and all people disgusted by Trump’s bigotry: Let’s stand together. Let’s fight together for a world where no one is discriminated against.
We also want to reach the white people Trump is targeting with the old divide-and-conquer rhetoric of past demagogues. We want to tell white working-class people that we are not your enemy. So-called free trade policies have caused economic hardship in rural Mexico similar to the job loss we see in former industrial strongholds like Milwaukee. Trump himself profits from cheap goods made overseas.
Trump preaches racism instead of responding to the real needs of working families. He has no plan to create well-paying jobs, support underfunded schools, or expand access to college and healthcare. All working-class people, regardless of background, need a government that responds to the needs of our families.
We have one more message: Vote!
We are marching today to save our country, and on November 8 we want you to vote. For the sake of all our children, we must defeat this racist man and the dangerous ideas he represents.
José Flores and his wife Lola are undocumented immigrants from Mexico; their kids are all U.S. Citizens. José is a factory worker and Lola is a stay-at-home mom. They attend Casa de Restauración Methodist Church in New Berlin and are longtime members of Voces de la Frontera Action.