MEXICO CITY – Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is the Dreamers’ top pick to beat Donald Trump in the November election and to put an end to the hostility in the United States against immigrants.
Although they no longer live in the US, Dreamers who have returned to Mexico are closely following the presidential race there, given that a second term for the Republican would further complicate the lives of their relatives living in the US and their chances of one day returning to that country.
Dreamers are those who were brought illegally to the US by their parents when they were children.
They were affected by Trump’s decision, which is awaiting the US Supreme Court’s approval, to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which put their deportations on hold and provided them with temporary work permits.
EFE contacted four Dreamers who had been deported or returned voluntarily to Mexico, and they shared their fears and political preferences for Sanders, whom they feel is the candidate who would best protect migrants.
- ISRAEL CONCHA (Mexico City, 38 years old): “Trump uses immigrants as bait to get re-elected.”
Israel lived for 34 years in Texas, where he started a transportation company, but his life made a 180-degree turn when he was arrested for speeding. Because he had no papers, US authorities initiated deportation proceedings against him and he spent two years at an immigration center.
His son was born during that time, and he wasn’t given the chance to say goodbye to the boy when he was deported. He was kidnapped on his first day back in Mexico.
“We are dealing with a president that uses migrant families as bait and as chess pieces to get re-elected,” said Israel, who now heads an organization that supports Mexicans who have returned - or were deported - from the US.
He said he feels that there is a “good chance” that Trump will be re-elected on Nov. 3 given the good state of the US economy, and he hopes that the Democrats choose a strong opponent to compete against him.
- CHANTAL LOPEZ (Acapulco, 29 years old): “If Latinos don’t vote, Trump will get re-elected.”
Chantal Lopez arrived back in Mexico just four months ago. Her family moved to California when she was 10 because there were no job opportunities in Acapulco due to local crime and violence.
Although she is not fluent in Spanish, she feels more comfortable in her new home than in the US.
“I feel more relaxed in Mexico because I am not worried about being found and deported,” she said.
Chantal also came back to Mexico to be able to work in her chosen field of ethnic studies and not to have to keep working at a restaurant for the rest of her life.
She favors Sanders because he “is very interested in helping people with scarce resources” and she said she fears that her sister could be negatively impacted by Trump’s re-election given that her DACA permit expires soon.
“If Latinos don’t vote, it’s gonna be very hard to beat Trump,” she said.
- MAURICIO LOPEZ (Mexico City, 25 years old): “The US is nothing without immigrants.”
Mauricio arrived in North Carolina at the age of 3 with his mother, where they joined his stepfather. In 2017, after his brother’s deportation and his DACA permit expired, he decided to return to Mexico.
Now an English teacher, he said he regrets the fact that Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric have brought people’s “hidden negative feelings” towards immigrants to the surface.
“It is sad that many people that I worked with thought that we were criminals, ‘bad hombres,’” he said.
Mauricio wants to return to the US and said he believes that Sanders “has a lot of plans regarding immigrants” and understands that the US is a world power because of immigration, saying that “the US is nothing without immigrants.”
- ITZEL ESTEVEZ, (Puebla, 27 years old): “Americans need to learn more about Mexico.”
Itzel was brought to California at age of six but returned alone to Mexico in 2010. Although that wasn’t easy, her career options were limited in the US, and she wanted more than just to get married and have children.
Her relatives stayed in California and are fearful about Trump winning a second term since they are in the process of sorting out their residence and immigration papers.
Itzel said she believes that “Amaricans should educate themselves more about Mexico” to understand the immigration issue and why half of the undocumented migrants in that country are Mexicans.
She said that, contrary to popular belief, migration to the US from Mexico “has decreased considerably” and job opportunities in Mexico are increasing little by little.