Within the hours main up to Trump’s scheduled go to to McAllen, Texas on Thursday, Joacim Hernandez, the 32-year-old president of the Hidalgo County Younger Republicans, says that the official Fb web page for the group was flooded with messages. “It was Wednesday and we were like, ‘Oh, man, we don’t really have anything [planned].” So, naturally, Hernandez went on Fb Stay and urged supporters to be a part of them at their McAllen headquarters to make posters (“MAGA,” “BUILD THE WALL,”) to greet Trump with on the McCreery Aviation Middle the place Air Drive One would quickly contact down.
“You know, I don’t know that [Trump] really cared to see us or not,” Hernandez says, laughing, “but I think most of the time there really isn’t a visible presence from the Republican Party in the Valley.” And he’s proper. To be a younger Republican in Hidalgo County is to be an outsider. Although Texas is persistently pink, the border cities, like McAllen, which is 90 % Hispanic, are main blue pockets in the state.
Hernandez, nevertheless, who works primarily as a human assets director for a produce warehouse, stays devoted to increasing the Republican Social gathering in the Rio Grande Valley. He jokingly refers to the pursuit as a “hopeless cause,” calling Republicans profitable elected workplace in Hidalgo County “like the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.”
I used to be raised in McAllen and lived there till I used to be 18-years-old. The image Trump has painted of life on the border could be very totally different from that of what I skilled. Just some hours after Trump visited the border and met with border patrol brokers, I spoke with Hernandez about his ideas on what the president is claiming is a disaster on the border, what it’s like to be a Mexican-American Republican and the McAllen he sees by means of his eyes.
When Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Workplace he stated: “This is a humanitarian crisis. A crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul.” Do you agree with that?
Sure. I do assume it’s a humanitarian disaster on each side of the border. Clearly the president has made it a problem that he’s going to prioritize America first and his views are very nationalist and some would say patriotic. However the best way I see it’s it’s a humanitarian disaster as a result of there are brokers who lose their life in the road of fireside making an attempt to shield the border once they encounter unlawful trafficking, whether or not it’s human or narcotics. However there are additionally people who find themselves inhumanely handled as they’re making their journey towards the border — the terrain they cross, the circumstances they endure — and a few of them are even sexually abused and bought into prostitution rings.
It’s undoubtedly a disaster of the guts and soul since you don’t need individuals dropping their lives due to a criminal offense, whether or not it’s shoplifting or getting into the nation illegally. You additionally don’t need individuals to resort to unlawful means to present a greater future for his or her households.
It’s a humanitarian disaster on each side. Households are dropping family members in the road of service and individuals who could also be coming for the fitting causes are going about it the mistaken means.
And what about asylum seekers?
They discovered this loophole the place they will apply for asylum however the issue is that they don’t seem to be documenting or checking in with the federal government after they initially apply for asylum. I heard somebody say lately it was about 70 % of people that apply for asylum don’t present up to their follow-up courtroom date.
Are you pro-wall?
Yeah. And I actually don’t assume it’s going to be one lengthy construction that stretches 2,000 miles. I feel they know which corridors are a few of the most closely trafficked areas alongside the border, that they want to create some type of buildings not solely by metal, which Trump talked about lately — it’s not going to be concrete it’s going to be metal — but in addition by sensible know-how that can be in a position to give border patrol brokers a quicker response time and extra clever info.
So we’re presently on Day 20 of the federal government shutdown, which is the longest in historical past. So many federally employed People, lots of whom even voted for Trump, are nonetheless working with out pay. Do you assume that the sense of urgency that Trump has conveyed about border safety is value it?
You already know, that’s a very good query. I don’t assume we’ve reached the longest interval of a shutdown, however I do know he’s claimed to maintain it going for years.
He stated he’s ready to shut it for years if he doesn’t get the $5 billion in funding.
I feel our nation ought to be a precedence. When the opposite aspect is reluctant to safe and shield our border and our sovereignty as a nation, I feel that they’re prioritizing different nations over our personal wants on the border. We go to numerous different nations throughout the globe in the identify of being humanitarians and bringing third-world nations into the primary world. It must be value it to all People that our nation is sovereign and in management of our borders as opposed to seeing our borders, I wouldn’t say ripped aside, however crossed illegally. However sure, I might say it’s value it as a result of in the event that they actually claimed to care about federally employed staff they might give the president $5 billion as opposed to funding different tasks.
Trump has additionally chosen to blame the Democrats’ refusal to fund the border for the shutdown. Do you assume that’s truthful?
Sure. They’ve achieved it earlier than. They did it underneath the Obama administration.
McAllen was named one of many prime 20 most secure cities in America. Trump believes in any other case largely in half to the immigrant inhabitants. What do you consider that?
So that you do, or at the least I do, see on social media felony exercise — clearly the statistics, you understand I haven’t actually seemed on the report or the survey however there’s crime and there’s criminality alongside the border whether or not it’s reported or not.
I don’t assume the argument is that McAllen is a crime-free metropolis. However it’s true that it has been highlighted as one of many most secure cities to stay in. The truth of McAllen doesn’t precisely align with the image of it that Trump has painted.
Proper. Yeah. I’m not going to lie, I do really feel protected in the neighborhood that I stay. I don’t really feel like there are individuals strolling the streets which might be right here illegally which are going to break into my residence or any of that. However that unlawful or legal exercise is occurring. I agree that it’s a protected metropolis, it’s a small city. However you understand how the town of McAllen tried to painting it’s “We’re a safe city” and they’re making an attempt to counter the president’s level concerning the border — nevertheless it’s the acts dedicated on the border which might be unlawful. I’m not gonna say everybody all the time does issues which might be authorized, you already know, typically we velocity, individuals have lapses in judgement, however what I’m saying is the legal exercise he’s specializing in is the one occurring on the crossing of the territorial border of america, not a lot in the town.
Given what you simply stated, he has talked about declaring a nationwide emergency if he can’t get the funding. So is that this an precise emergency?
You recognize even when it’s an emergency it’s going to take a pair months to erect these buildings alongside the border. I feel it’s a bargaining chip for the president. He threatened the Chinese language with tariffs on their merchandise and they ended up with an ideal deal that’s benefiting us. It’s simply a type of negotiating, deal-making techniques that he has.
The artwork of the deal.
Yeah. It’s a type of issues the place you sort of simply have to wait and see what the subsequent transfer is. And going again to his Oval Workplace handle, I used to be anticipating him to go off and then he was scripted. After which the subsequent morning I used to be anticipating to have type of a break the web tweet. However there was nothing. So I feel he’s utterly critical about funding the wall and he may use the emergency crisis-thing to get it executed.
I don’t know what that may imply for the federal government shutdown. However I do assume that the opposite aspect wants to — you realize proper earlier than the New Yr each side got here collectively to cross a legal justice reform invoice that was modeled after Texas, and it was a bipartisan effort, so why can’t we do or have extra of those bipartisan moments the place it’s for the great and an funding in our nation. Immigration reform can be a fantastic begin to a bipartisan second. But when Congress goes to hold stalling to move the finances, it’s on them, it truly is. That’s the best way I see it.
Trump has additionally threatened to shut the border utterly. However the Valley’s financial system depends so closely on its relationship with Mexico. Do you assume that might be a mistake?
Shutting them down utterly? Sure. You realize the town’s financial system depends on individuals coming over and purchasing however there’s additionally lots of people who do enterprise each methods and that isn’t going to be good for enterprise or for america financial system both. I don’t assume it can get that far. Everybody will get scared or paranoid by the president’s calls for or threats when it comes to offers he’s making an attempt to work out however you simply by no means know what to anticipate [laughs].
This week Texas Sen. Ted Cruz proposed the “El Chapo Act” to pay for the wall. What do you consider that plan?
I briefly learn the headlines.
Primarily Cruz proposed that El Chapo’s belongings, which he alleges are in the billions, might pay for the wall.
I feel it’s political jargon to fire up the dialog concerning the wall.
So far as Sen. Cruz is concerned in border safety conversations, are you happy together with his management?
I really like Sen. Cruz’s adherence to the Structure. He comes off as a hardliner and I feel if he was only a tad bit extra average on some points he would get much more carried out in the Senate. However you realize I’ve by no means been a senator so these are simply my observations as I see the voting inhabitants shifting in the state of Texas, as a result of the conservative wave is type of in their golden years. In order you see the voting inhabitants shift right into a extra numerous and youthful inhabitants you type of need to see some kind of moderation in your senators. Beto got here fairly shut to beating him, regardless that he’s a radical left politician.
You’d name Beto a radical?
I might. However you recognize his marketing campaign and his method of reaching out to voters was very center of the street and type of cool. He had an excellent vibe in the best way that he interacted with individuals as opposed to the senator, who didn’t have an entire lot of grassroots momentum. So undoubtedly in search of one thing that would present that he’s a tad bit progressive. Like, once I describe younger Republicans to individuals, we’re extra like basic liberals, we’re not excessive right-wingers as a result of we’re massive on much less authorities intrusion and fiscally conservative insurance policies — socially we don’t actually need authorities involvement.
Talking of Beto, the midterm elections prompt the potential of Texas turning purple in the longer term. What do you consider that?
It’d be…[laughs]. I don’t need to be caught on document saying it’d be a refreshing change, as a result of I don’t assume that’s what I would really like. The Valley is totally reverse of the state, so if in the subsequent couple of years the state does go blue, I might hope the Valley goes purple [laughs]. Houston noticed some fairly dangerous losses on the county degree, and so did Dallas and that entire space. So I inform them on a regular basis, as a result of I additionally sit on the state federation, I inform them “you guys keep losing voters every election cycle, and the Republican turnout keeps growing in the Valley.” So it’s like what’s happening? We’ve numerous youthful leaders arising in statewide politics that I feel give our celebration a very good shot in the longer term. You’ve received George P. Bush, he’s a bit brown, slightly tan, half hispanic, speaks Spanish and he provides to that variety. There’s a brilliant future for the social gathering and we’re making an attempt to be a part of it.
On a extra private degree, as a Mexican-American who does reside in the Valley — Trump has repeatedly attacked Mexicans, he kickstarted his marketing campaign by calling them “rapists,” and he’s been aligned with white supremacy rhetoric, how does that personally have an effect on you and does this in any respect have an effect on your help of him?
No. Properly, you realize, I wasn’t an preliminary supporter of him and typically I do cringe once I hear or learn a few of his statements, different occasions I simply snicker. I do take my help for him with warning as a result of I’m all the time anticipating to be stunned by one thing he does. So yeah, I do contemplate my stances on his insurance policies so much earlier than I’m going out to the general public. However for probably the most half I do assume he’s doing an incredible job. Some individuals won’t perceive the whole lot he’s saying however I feel he needs to do good for our nation.
The place would you draw the road?
I feel private liberty is an enormous one. When he begins to censor, for instance, free speech not in the sense of the media however extra in individuals expressing their opinions. And in addition spending some varieties of gun management insurance policies underneath his watch. I’d assume that’d be one thing the place I might be vocally towards it. And when he turns into a direct racist. Individuals name him a racist, they label him as that however I don’t understand that from his rhetoric. I don’t consider I’m mistaken as a result of I nonetheless see lots of people in the Valley, and not simply myself, and typically I’m stunned, however there are rather a lot people who find themselves like me, Mexican-American, my age, that help his insurance policies and his stances. So I’m like, it might’t be racism.
Would you not say that calling Mexicans rapists is racist?
Um. That’s the factor — like Jesus stated in the Bible, that you need to drink my blood. So, a few of Trump’s statements, clearly he’s talking allegorically. However there’s additionally instances the place he hyperbolizes to show some extent.
Hyperbolizes or lies?
Once you hyperbolize typically you sort of blur the strains between the reality and the lies. Like I stated, it’s a type of issues the place you might have to take his statements with warning and actually analyze earlier than publicly supporting.
Right now, in McAllen, Trump did say that he supported Dreamers, these of DACA, and needs to assist them. Do you consider him?
Yeah, as a result of he stated he would grant them authorized standing and I feel he stated in change for funding for the border wall he would grant them authorized standing. I’m forgetting his 4 pillars of immigration however that was his change for Congress.
There was a variety of dialog about Trump’s go to and how it will have been useful for him to go to one of many detention facilities. Do you assume he might have benefited from seeing the circumstances firsthand?
At the moment he got here to take a look at the border and meet with border patrol. Like he stated, these are the those that want help alongside the border. However I do assume it’s necessary that he will get the complete view, together with the detention facilities.
On the identical word, McAllen first made information final yr because the epicenter of the household separation coverage. All of us noticed the circumstances they have been being held in — youngsters in cages. Is that this to you what America and the Valley ought to appear to be in 2019?
Properly, you already know, when individuals commit a criminal offense they’re put in cages referred to as prisons, proper?
However not youngsters.
Um, no, not youngsters. However it takes a while to course of the folks that come right here. So, I feel we’d like higher effectivity from the federal government when it comes to processing a few of the people who find themselves caught coming over illegally. However yeah, it’s undoubtedly not a superb sight once you see youngsters being locked up.
Due to all of the media consideration McAllen has gotten surrounding the president’s go to and feedback concerning the space, there are big misconceptions about what life in McAllen is like. As somebody who’s a resident of McAllen, what would you like individuals to know concerning the metropolis?
That it’s an ideal metropolis to stay in. You’ve lots of the perfect of each worlds. We have now one of the best tacos [laughs], a few of the greatest Mexican meals, and the tradition is numerous in the sense that it’s an American city however the reference to the border in inevitable in our lives. Everybody right here comes from an immigrant household. We’re distinctive, we’re bilingual, plenty of us are bicultural and we maintain conservative values. I’d like for them to simply know that it’s not the Wild West out right here however that there’s a lot to work by way of as we turn into an necessary a part of the nation’s future as a result of as our border goes so will the way forward for our nation.