OPINION

Opinion: This year we Latinos do not have to settle for the lesser of two evils

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (R) and running mate Bill Weld on August 6, 2015 i n Salt Lake City, Utah.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (R) and running mate Bill Weld on August 6, 2015 i n Salt Lake City, Utah.  (2016 Getty Images)

This is a critical election for Latino voters in our country. 

On one hand we have Donald Trump's ugly rhetoric on immigration, which is unacceptable to Latino voters in this country. On the other hand we have Hillary Clinton, who has a long record when it comes to issues affecting the Latino community.

So the question is, should we ignore Hillary’s 20+ years record of being against immigrants and vote for her just because she changed her speeches this year now that she needs our votes? 

- Robert G. Deposada

So this year we should ask ourselves: Should we support someone who in 1994 told Congress that “illegal aliens” should not have access to new health care programs? Or someone who in 2004 told a radio station “people need to stop hiring illegal immigrants”?

Should we support someone who in 2006 called for building a fence at the U.S. Mexico border and two years later opposed drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants?

Should we vote for someone who in 2015 said that undocumented children from Central America had to be returned to their country?

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By the way, this someone above is not Donald Trump. This is Hillary Clinton’s record when it comes to immigration. You can watch a video of these comments here.

When voters take a close look at Hillary Clinton’s record, one quickly realizes that her record on Latino issues is not much better than Trump’s rhetoric.

We can’t ignore that last year, when addressing an overwhelming white audience in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton bragged about the fact that as a U.S. senator she “voted numerous times to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in.”

The problem here is an issue of truthfulness and credibility — an issue that has plagued the former secretary of state throughout her campaign.

So the question is, should we ignore Hillary’s 20+ years record of being against immigrants and vote for her just because she changed her speeches this year now that she needs our votes? 

When it comes to Donald Trump, aside from his divisive rhetoric, he advocates for policies on immigration and trade that would be destructive to our economy. Most frightening, he has displayed a frightening lack of knowledge on both foreign affairs and the basics of our own U.S. Constitution.

The good news is that the insults from Donald Trump and the double-talk from Hillary Clinton are not our only options. This year, we do not have to settle for the lesser of two evils. 

The fact is that our community deserves something better than Hillary or Trump. We need “Una Tercera Opción,” a third option, and that option is the Libertarian Party nominees for president and vice president: Governors Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Bill Weld of Massachusetts.

Governors Johnson and Weld are two of the most successful governors in America and they present the best hope to lead our country in the years ahead.

Unlike Trump and Clinton, since 2001 Gary Johnson has opposed Trump’s “wall” and Clinton’s “fence”. As the former two-term border state Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson knows that our goal should be assimilation, not exclusion. Johnson and Weld’s approach provides intelligent and common sense solutions to immigration reform. They strongly believe that our immigration policy must not be regulated by politics, but by the marketplace.

On other issues important to Latino families, Governors Johnson and Weld have a very successful record. Both of them were recognized nationally for turning around the economies of their states; for reforming education to allow parents with lower incomes better opportunities to select a high-performing school for their children; and for advocating reforming a criminal justice system that give our young people and families a second chance at the American dream. 

They did all this as Republican Governors of states with overwhelming Democrat legislatures, successfully working across party lines to create jobs, improve schools and reform an unjust criminal justice system.

In 1999, Gary Johnson became the highest-ranking elected official in our country to advocate the legalization of marijuana, and he has urged the nation to treat drug abuse as a health issue, not as a criminal one. 

This is an issue of critical importance to Latino families. In the past few years, we have seen a 400 percent increase in the number of Latinos who have been arrested for non-violent drug offenses – most of them for possession, not for distribution. With an arrest in their record, they will be denied the chance to get a license to practice careers — denied the opportunity to build a better life.

During an election year, candidates will promise you the sky. The question is whether they can deliver on their promises. There is no doubt that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are highly polarizing figures that will expand the partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Washington. Compare this to Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, who were highly successful in working across party lines to get things done as Republican governors with Democrat-majority legislatures. 

This is a critical election. We must make sure that we research the record of all the candidates and make an educated decision when voting for president.

Robert G. Deposada was the founder and former president of the Latino Coalition and is a board member of Tercera Opción PAC™ (www.TerceraOpcion.org).

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