Latino Students Discuss Impact of the 2016 Election


The 2016 presidential election result has raised some uncertainty and questions for many New Mexicans — especially minorities.

The New Mexico population is 46 percent Latino, and of that percentage, 59 percent are Democrats. According to CNN exit poll results, 66 percent of Latinos voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton compared to the 28 percent who voted for President-elect Donald Trump. This trend is seen in New Mexico where Clinton won the state. Over half (54 percent) of Latino voters in the state chose Clinton.

University of New Mexico (UNM) student Diane Hernandez is a Latino voter who supported Clinton this past election. Hernandez says she is worried about Trump becoming the president. But Hernandez says she is somewhat comforted he might back down on some issues.

“I know that there are a lot of things that he promised that he won’t be able to do which is kind of a good thing,” Hernandez said. “But it is still worrying that he was elected at all.”

An issue that has come up with President-elect Trump is how he addresses and treats women.

Hernandez said Trump has made a lot of explicit comments that a president or elected official should not make.

“I think it is really scary and worrying for people like me, women, my little sister, my family and my friends,” Hernandez said. “I think it is dangerous especially since there have been allegations against him.”

Mariah Garcia is another UNM student who voted for Clinton. She said she believed in the principles Clinton stood for and was hoping for a good change.

“I was a little disappointed with the outcome because that was my first election voting,” Garcia said. “So I was a little devastated, but Trump is who we are going to have now so we have to believe in him.”

Many other UNM Latino students did not vote because they say they did not like either candidate. One such student is Brandon Gutierrez.

“I really didn’t care about who won because it was like choosing one of the lesser evils.”Gutierrez said. “I am very indifferent about the events of this election if I am being completely honest.”

Trump has been quoted multiple times saying that he is going to deport illegal immigrants, and build a wall on the southern United States border with Mexico. These plans affect people like Richard Trujillo who has family members that are not American citizens.

“If I voted, I would have voted for Hillary. Not all of my family is here legally so I just want to make sure that we all stay here,” Trujillo said. “I think he’s going to try and build the wall but I do not think it will work out.”

Trump’s notions on immigration also affect students like Arianna Baylon.

Baylon said she would have voted against Trump because she does not agree with his proposed policies on immigration and deportation.

“I think he’s very ignorant and arrogant,” Baylon said, “I mean, he’s just stupid.”

Other UNM students, such as Alex Rihani says he did not believe Trump could actually become president.

“At first, I kind of just laughed at him, like there is no way that this guy is serious… A lot of things he said were really extreme,” Rihani said.

Rihani said he thinks Trump was making controversial comments in an effort to keep people following him.

“With the system of checks and balances, I don’t think he’ll be able to manage to do half of what he said he would do,” Rihani said, “I really don’t think he will.”

Rihani said despite Trump’s policies  and opinions, he is not worried for the next four years because he does not think it will directly affect him.

“I am not going to get deported so I think I’ll be ok,” Rihani said. “I always feared that it might affect scholarships here and my parents and their healthcare, but I think that there are way too many things in place that are going to prevent him from doing what he wants.”

During election night as Trump’s chance of becoming president became more of a reality, Rihani said he had to remember it is important to do what we can to move forward as a nation.

“When I saw that he was going to win, I was like, there was a 50/50 chance and now we just have to accept it,” Rihani said. “And we have to do our part to make sure that we still can live our lives normally.”

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