Sept. 9, 2016 – There are few stories you’ll ever hear that are as inspiring and as American as Astrid Silva — a DREAMer from Nevada.
That’s why we were so disgusted yesterday when Donald Trump Jr., who was campaigning for his father in Nevada, called for her deportation. Like racist father, like racist son.
When she was just four, Astrid crossed the Rio Grande on a homemade raft with her mom. Astrid’s only belongings were the dress she had on, her doll, and her rosary beads. They left everything and risked everything in hope of a better life in America.
By 28, Astrid wasn’t just dreaming big, she was going big. This past summer, she became the second undocumented immigrant to ever speak at a Presidential nominating convention, when she addressed a primetime audience at the DNC.
Astrid had everything to lose by publicly coming out as undocumented, but it was her grandmother’s death in 2009 that forced her to cast her fears to the side. Because of their immigration statuses, Astrid and her parents couldn’t attend the funeral in Mexico to say goodbye.
It was the first time she had ever seen her dad cry, Astrid said about that day. She’d had enough, and on that day she started the journey that has led her to become a force in the immigrant rights movement.
But now Donald Trump Jr. and his dad are set on banishing everything that makes America great, including immigrants like Astrid. About her deportation, Trump Jr. said, “it’s a possibility…She’s probably a great lady. Ok. I get it. But you have to do it right.”
No, Junior, you don’t get it at all. But, we wouldn’t expect any empathy from someone who has lived such an entitled and privileged life.
We know what Astrid stands for: an inclusive society where you’re supposed to be granted dignity and treated equally no matter the color of your skin, the place of your birth or the accent with which you speak. It’s why she’s earned our respect, and deserves yours.
The fact is that Astrid works tirelessly everyday to earn the citizenship that people like the Trumps take for granted. During the Republican primary, two of Donald Trump’s children didn’t even vote for him because they forgot to register in their state. That’s not making America great again, that’s negligence.
Those of us who have heard Astrid’s story know what she’s sacrificed in order to reach the American Dream. But what has Donald Trump Jr. ever sacrificed? What has he ever feared? What has he ever done for this country?
After the past year, we know much too well already what his dad is trying to do to it. Donald Trump wants mass deportation. And, Donald Trump Jr. said that includes Astrid.
Earlier today, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid — referred to affectionately by Astrid as her “abuelito,” or “grandpa” — blasted the Trumps:
“Now Donald Trump Jr. Is calling for Astrid to be deported. This is despicable. Donald Trump Sr., has professed his love for dictators like Vladimir Putin. He has invited Russia to launch a cyberattack against America. He has publicly ridiculed and denounced Gold Star parents. He has ridiculed veterans and my friend, the great American hero, Senator John McCain. Donald Trump doesn’t know the first thing about being a true American and I’m certain he would fail the citizenship test if he ever had the courage to take it.
“Astrid knows more about being an American than Trump ever will.
“And Astrid is a Nevadan. The people elected to represent her should stand up for her in the face of Trump’s hateful, ignorant call for her deportation.
Reid pointed out that none of the Republicans in Nevada’s Congressional delegation came to Astrid’s defense. We’ve gotten a lot of cheap talk about DREAMers from Joe Heck, who is running for Senate. But, he’s with Trump, not Astrid and her family and her community.
To Donald Trump Jr.: Senator Reid is right to call you despicable. But, understand this, your hateful words, just like those of your father, will mobilize our community. Those of us who can vote will vote in November to make sure you and your father never step foot in the White House.
To Astrid: We stand with you as always. Thank you for teaching us what it is to be an American.
The mission of America’s Voice is to harness the power of American voices and American values to enact policy change that guarantees full labor, civil and political rights for immigrants and their families. www.americasvoice.org