Donald Trump is now the President of the United States. Normally, we would not devote our editorial to matters of national import, but in this case we’re making an exception.
For many months Mr. Trump waged a vigorous campaign against, among others, undocumented immigrants, particularly from Mexico. He called them “murderers” and “rapists” and “bad dudes” and vowed to build a “big, beautiful wall” across the US/Mexico border. He’s threatened to deport 11-million undocumented immigrants, including children born and raised here in America. He’s stated opposition to the Dream Act and his nominees to various cabinet positions have been outspoken in defense of Mr. Trump’s positions.
Given the importance and value of our Latino community we feel compelled to add our voice to the growing chorus opposing the Trump administration’s threats and immigration plans. We are not simply offended by the style of Trump’s comments, but alarmed by the prospect that he and his designees will act upon the plans that have been articulated.
In this community, Latinos have long played a vital role in both agriculture and cultural life. Our wine industry would never have been possible without the back-breaking labor of the workers who harvest the grapes, prune the vines and manage the crush. And the hospitality industry, which developers are intent upon expanding, also requires the “stoop labor” of many Latinos, who make the beds, clean the grounds, serve the meals, wash the dishes, some even rising to well-deserved positions of management and authority. Not all of these workers are undocumented, but many are and historically, have been.
Culturally, Latinos bring the diversity of their old and storied culture, one older and in many ways more colorful than that of the Anglos who followed the Latinos into this region of America. Sonoma, as we know, was founded by the Mexican General Mariano Vallejo, who laid out the city streets and downtown we so enjoy today. And the Springs, while gentrifying and changing, remains a bastion of Latino culture — colorful, vibrant, authentic and lively.
Discussions about the County of Sonoma and the City of Sonoma declaring themselves Sanctuary Cities are happening, still in the formative stages and a bit below the radar, but sentiment in favor is growing. It’s too early for us at the Sun to declare our support; too many details and policy issues remain unclear. But it is not too early for us to declare that we strongly object to President Trump’s point of view and his prospective policies.
The strength of America is its diversity; it has always been this way. America, after all, is a country populated by immigrants. As we look to history, it’s easy to see the great contribution immigrants have made, including the undocumented immigrants who pay taxes, contribute to a Social Security system from which they will not ever benefit, serve in the armed forces, and do so many of the jobs that many other people find too strenuous, boring or ill-paid.
Perhaps Trump’s rhetoric was campaign fodder, meant to whip up his supporters, but we suspect not; we anticipate he will try to put his policies in place. Opposing such a cruel and heartless policy will not be easy, but oppose it we will, and we will ask the same of our local political leaders