Latino leaders to Trump: Don't Ignore Us
Washington - "The divisive rhetoric of this campaign has incited hate, and led to an increase of violence against Latinos and other minorities."
Leaders of prominent American Latino organizations are voicing concerns over their safety after the electoral victory of Donald Trump and complain about "non-existent" outreach to their communities both before and after his successful presidential run.
On Thursday, the National Latino Civic Engagement Table (NLCET) - which brings together some of the largest and most prominent Latino organizations in the country - held a press conference in Washington DC, where they applauded the high turn-out of Latino voters and expressed their concern about the lack of communication they've received from Trump.
"In this election, we had a record-breaking number of Latinos coming out and sending a strong message of where we stand. As a community, we are significant contributors to the political, economic and social framework of this nation," said Hector Sanchez, Chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA). "In this election, we voted overwhelmingly for the American values of tolerance and inclusiveness."
"The divisive rhetoric of this campaign has incited hate, and led to an increase of violence against Latinos and other minorities. We are deeply concerned for the safety and security of Latinos," he added. "We hope the president-elect will make a sincere and concerted effort to promote tolerance and respect for all Americans. We also expect the president-elect to address the Latino community's priorities on immigration, worker's rights, education, health, criminal justice reform and others."
Arturo Vargas, the Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, said that the lack of response from the Trump campaign to his and other organization's outreach efforts was "unprecedented."
"We have always experienced free and open communication with candidates of the major parties as they campaign. We always heard from Republicans and Democrats," he said. "We were most disappointed that throughout this campaign, every single overture we made to the Donald Trump campaign was ignored."
"The election is over, it is time to govern. We already have requested a meeting with president-elect Trump and his transition team," he added. "He cannot continue to ignore our overtures. It is his responsibility as president-elect of the United States to engage every single American."
Exit poll data disputed
Additionally, NLCET leaders are disputing exit poll data which suggests that nearly 30 percent of Latino voters cast their vote for Trump.
Data from Latino Decisions - a polling firm which specializes in Latino communities - suggests that Trump received only 18 percent of the Latino vote, a record low for a Republican presidential candidate.
"It is an insult to us as Latinos to keep hearing the media ignoring empirical data that was presented by Latino Decisions and representing an alternative number that we do not accept, and that we reject," said Janet Murguia, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, America's largest Latino non-for-profit advocacy organization.
Murguia added that - despite the disappointment among many Latino voters about Trump's election - there are things the community can be happy about.
"We are encouraged by some important election results, including the election of the first Latina U.S. senator, Catherine Cortez Mastro of Nevada," she said. "We also saw the defeat of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona and a rejection of his policies to racially profile our community."
Murguia also pointed to an increase in the number of Hispanic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including the first Puerto Rican representative from Florida, Darren Soto, and the first Dominican representative, Adriano Espaillat of New York.