While there is plenty of opposition – particularly within our community – to President Donald Trump and his policies, comedian George Lopez doesn’t think Latinos are speaking out enough against family separation.
In an interview with Hill.TV, Lopez said, “Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any reaction from the Latino community in regards to the thousands of people who are being detained and the children who are not with their parents. I think the Latino community has a bigger issue of – we go silent, no voice, no change. We didn’t vote very much. We need to start realizing that our vote is as important as any other American in the United States. There’s a lot of people who are undocumented in this country, but it’s amazing to me, as I’ve said, how documented the undocumented people are. We need to make our voice heard, and we need to go out and vote, and not be silent.”
It’s true that we need to draw more attention to the plight of families separated at the border – there are still families that haven’t been reunited and more that were torn apart after the June court order – but it’s unfair to point the blame solely on Latino communities. There are many Latinos on the ground fighting for undocumented individuals, particularly for the mainly Central Americans who were ripped from their children. Lopez’s blanket statement overlooks their contributions. They may not have a platform as big as his, but they’re out there doing often thankless work.
Lopez’s comments about voting are also unfair. While it’d be great if we had more Latinos at the polls, the reasons why they don’t vote isn’t just because they’re uninformed or uninterested in politics. He doesn’t explore how gerrymandering, ID laws, or other institutional reasons keep Latinos from the polls.
Instead of making generalizations, Lopez should have used this opportunity to inform others about family separations and the organizations – such as the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) – dealing with the aftermath, as well as the work that still needs to be done so that everyone has the same opportunity to vote.