The Wondering Latina: Reflections on Trump’s Speech

I am so sick and tired of having the border attacked by spreading lies and false images. I am a Latina, a Texan, a proud El Pasoan and I can’t stand people that talk about MY home and MY community.

Let’s be accurate, this president is not the first to criminalize life on the border by peddling lies to create fear, examples: former Texas governor and current governor both referring to an unfounded “invasion” on the border during their respective terms.

What is the common factor here? Stigmatizing the people and communities across the border.

Traveling across the country for work, I have met so many folks that have a huge misconception about El Paso. Heck, you don’t even have to leave the state to hear ridiculous, outlandish ideas about the border, just head to the interior of Texas.

Those are the misconceptions we –  as residents of the border – have always had to fight against; but Tuesday night yet again we heard the President of the United States continue his attacks, telling the nation lies about border life and pitting us against each other.

Instead of offering a pathway to immigration and coming up with immigration reform, the president holds on his original campaign promise: “division.”

When is it going to be enough? There is already an existing steel fence that has been up for over a decade, along with historic low numbers for border crossings. El Paso has remained one of the safest cities in the nation. Yet we are ALWAYS reflected as the worst: rapist, human trafficking, drugs, crisis, invasion, etc… because this isn’t about the border security, this is about the color of our skin, racism, discrimination and who is “qualified” to be American.

If you disagree, then where is the speech about the wall needing to built on the Canadian border?

If anyone actually talked to us, those that live on the border, you would know that right now people are worried about feeding their families. Many of us, American citizens, often cross over in order to get healthcare because we have none in our own country. And the only “crisis” you’ll most likely see is due to infrastructure during 5 o’clock traffic.

There is no “crisis on the border.” Which is exactly what makes speeches like Tuesday night’s dangerous. It makes the nation believe that anyone that comes from the border is “not American” and is a threat.

Since this president has occupied the White House I have been pulled over 13 times driving across Texas. I’ve never been given a ticket because I wasn’t breaking any laws, yet I’m always pulled over to “inspect.”

When this first started happening I was completely confused “inspect” what?

After about the 3rd time I started to understand what was going on, they thought I MIGHT be undocumented. Now I drive with my driver’s license and passport ready for the next time.

Little things like this trauma have changed me. I used to travel outside the country, now I’m terrified to do it what if they decided to “inspect” me upon arrival. I try not to drive at night anymore.

The truth is Donald Trump has changed the way I’m viewed in the world, it was already difficult enough being a woman of color in the world BEFORE him, now it’s so much more.

Regardless on where you stand on the immigration conversation, understand that we are ALL being lumped in together in the president’s attacks so we better wake up and stand united as “The Border.”

El Paso has always been the pathway, that’s the whole purpose of our city name “El Paso del Norte” literally means the pathway to the North. We will always be part of the journey to those stories of migration, it’s part of our history.  Along with the namesake, El Paso is also a modern thriving city and home to so many truly unique things that can only be found here in our region.

I think my hometown and community is absolutely worth fighting for, even if it means standing up to the President of the United States of America.