For over a year, I have been interviewing Salvadoran migrants about their memories of migration. If there was time during the interview, I asked the question, “what do you think about Donald Trump?” I asked this question because Donald Trump has been a controversial figure when it comes to migration. He has been particularly controversial in his views concerning Latinos and women. I wasn’t particularly interested in Donald Trump, but I asked the question to prompt a dialogue about experiences of racism and xenophobia in the United States. I never actually thought that Donald Trump would become the official presidential nominee for the Republican party.
I reviewed my interviews and pulled quotes from Salvadoran migrant women living in the United States who would not be able to vote in the 2016 Presidential elections. I should clarify that the quotes below are drawn from a sample of migrant women from Chalatenango, El Salvador. These words are not representative of all Salvadoran female migrants. The majority of these interviews were conducted in 2015 before Donald Trump was the official presidential nominee for the Republican party.
What do you think about Donald Trump?
“…I see in the news the support this man receives… and it’s not good, I feel this is not good…”
“I think he is a sick man. He lacks culture and he expresses himself in a vulgar manner. A man with much prestige, but without education. That’s what I think.”
“About Donald? I’m just getting to know that guy. Until now, I had never heard of him, but right now he is launching his nomination for president of the United States. Well, I think he is a sick man; in truth, he is sick, and since he has everything, or perhaps because he is someone who never had any needs, he believes he is the owner of the Universe, that he owns us… I think he’s pitiable.”
“…I think nobody has the right to discriminate against anyone due to the color of their skin or the country they come from; I think that nobody has the right to do that. Despite being a millionaire, he lacks culture and education when referring to other people because he doesn´t only insult immigrants, he also insults Americans themselves; for me he is not a dignified person that could become president, because if he is behaving this way as a candidate… what will occur when he is president? It´s really ridiculous, and in all truth, we pray to God it won´t be that way…”
“…this Donald Trump, God should forgive him and should forgive us if we have insulted him indirectly…I have heard a lot of people talking about this man and they talk about him in the same way he expresses himself about us.”
“He hates us a lot. Yes, he is very much against us – against all Hispanic people. At the beginning, he was just against the Mexicans but now, he is against everyone.”
“They say he is crazy. Hahahaha.”
Mike: …what about you. What do you think?
“…the only thing I know is that nobody likes him, nobody likes him and that …. They say he isn´t going to win; if he does, he will want to deport everyone, which is bad…he is crazy.”
“The candidate? …I see him sometimes…. Well, he thinks about immigration, about what´s going on… I feel that he wants everything to stop; that immigration should stop.”
“… he went to a restaurant to eat, but he wouldn’t know how that food arrived to the table, or what processes had occurred for him to get it, or when he goes to a store and only takes, he pays for it but only takes; he doesn’t go to the land to produce…it is unusual to see those that have received justice, to stay legally in this country…because well, there are so many…who are sent back without having the right to defend themselves.”
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