As a Latino and as an American citizen, it is difficult to understand how candidates for the United States Presidency are using xenophobia against the Latino community to win votes.
Being an immigrant myself, I believe that any person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country, no matter their background or ethnicity has plenty of courage and determination.
When people decide to move, they pack up not only all their possessions, but life as they know it; leaving behind their comfort zone, their family, their friends, and their culture. In reality, the only thing that migrants carry with them is hope; hope for a better life!
After leaving everything, an immigrant arrives to his new home… scared but full of dreams only to confront xenophobia. Legal or illegal, an immigrant has few opportunities; mostly, in order to survive they work jobs that you could never imagine and often their rights are violated.
As an immigrant, you never close the circle; you never stop dreaming of the day that you will be able to re-unite with your family. Always, trying to maintain your culture, your principles while adapting to a new environment.
Most of us do not come for social benefits; we come to find work and to improve our lives and those of our families. Although the reasons for having been pushed out of our homes are different for all of us like economic hardship, religious persecution, social intolerance, corrupted governments and more. We were all pulled in because of safety, stability and the opportunity to find a way to earn money to support our families.
I lived this tale in my own flesh, so I know!
So, here is my thought to all these candidates that have an irrational fear of people from different countries, cultures or religion; to these bigoted nominees that believe that their opinion is superior then any regular mortal.
First lets understand the meaning of the word candidate: a candidate is a person who is applying for a job; a person who is trying to be considered for a position, to be chosen.
Yes, every single one of you is auditioning for us; each one of you is applying to serve 321 million people, different people. Some are Black, some are white; some are Latinos and others are Asians. Some are straight and others are gay. Yet, all these dissimilar people live in one nation, the United States.
Then, you are seeking to become the leader of a great country, a nation that has been built by immigrants. In fact, only 1.7 percent of the population can be considered native. The rest of us came from all over the world.
To become a leader one must be sensitive to accept different perspectives and opinions, understanding backgrounds, ethnicity, religions and cultures.
A good leader has to have the ability to inspire, to motivate, to build, to listen and to unite, not to destroy, not to divide, not to despise!
The right leader knows that he/she is not the ruler or the center of the world; understands that every moment something exciting is happening all over the world; one world full of different inhabitants.
Most importantly, Señores Candidatos, we all should view immigrants as an asset for this country rather than a liability.
Like your parents and grandparents, all immigrants arrive scared but excited to their new environment. Their vision is not clouded and they will find opportunities where the locals can't see them anymore. The flavors, the colors, the sounds are new to them; they are like kids, everything is a new experience.
Their mind is set, they have decided that they came to succeed and constantly seeking for opportunities and ways to improve themselves. They are willing to do the pitiful jobs because they know, that every job is only a step closer to accomplishing their dreams.
We, as a nation, should view immigrants as an investment rather than a cost. Creating a system where we assist the right people to cross the border swiftly and legally. And everybody should make a conscious effort to better integrate immigrants within society.
An immigrant is a great asset, a blessing for any country!
Finally, if you really want to become the President of this great country, and lead the world; first you need to understand that you would be working for all 321 million, then, learn to listen and accept different perspectives and opinions. Finally, stop your xenophobic speeches by utilizing immigrants as pawns to win votes!
Who I am today as a person is largely due to my failures!