By Daisy Cruz
32BJ Mid-Atlantic District Leader
Pennsylvania immigrants and Latinos have their livelihoods at stake this election. As the district leader of a union that represents thousands of immigrant and Latino workers in the Delaware Valley, I see first-hand the struggles our members go through to have a shot at the American Dream. They vote because they know that, in many ways, their wages, children’s education and futures will be determined by what happens on November 8.
Not only will Pennsylvania possibly decide who goes to the White House, the balance of power in the Senate also rests in our hands. In many ways, what happens in the Senate may have more lasting repercussions for immigrants and Latinos than who occupies the Oval Office.
We all know Trump’s growing list of offenses against immigrants and Latinos: the wall, promising to deport 11 million people, calling Mexicans “criminals and rapists”, calling Alicia Machado “Miss Housekeeping” and his coziness with white supremacists. The list goes on and on. Yet what many voters may not know is how much our own Senator, Republican Pat Toomey supports the terrible policies that go hand-in-hand with Trump’s deplorable rhetoric. Trump’s hatred and anti-immigrant fervor have taken center-stage in this election and set the tone for the Senate race.
Senator Toomey is banking on race-baiting and anti-immigrant sentiment to win his seat. Instead of talking about issues that everyone cares about like jobs and the economy, he is talking about so-called “sanctuary cities” and distorting the truth in the process. Toomey’s nasty commercials and mailers seem to blame immigrants for everything from crime, to traffic, to the WaWa not stocking pumpkin spice coffee year-round. For Toomey, there is no issue too small to blame on immigrants and Latinos if it helps him win the election.
Unfortunately, Pat Toomey’s real-life policies match his heated rhetoric. Most notably, Toomey voted against the bi-partisan compromise immigration reform bill in 2013. He has also led the unsuccessful charge to punish so-called “sanctuary cities” by threatening to cut off their federal funding for police department programs. Unfortunately Toomey’s rhetoric about sanctuary cities is not only false but seeks to demonize immigrants. Studies have shown that immigrants actually commit less crime than the general public.
Perhaps even scarier than Senator Toomey’s immigration policies are his policies on jobs, taxes and the economy. Toomey has repeatedly voted for budgets that give tax breaks to billionaires while raising taxes on working families by as much as $3,000 per year, and also costing thousands of jobs. It’s no surprise that he favors the super wealthy over the rest of us. He worked on Wall Street for years and had a major financial stake in a bank at the same time he tried to pass laws to weaken banking regulations. That’s why super-wealthy corporations and special interests are contributing upwards to $100 million to help Toomey win. They know that Toomey will protect their interests and make them richer if he goes back to Washington.”
Toomey’s election strategy plays on the fears and economic anxiety of all Americans in a way that is despicable, and certainly not new. A classic joke explains this election better than any pundit or politician ever could: “A banker, a worker, and an immigrant are sitting at a table with 20 cookies. The banker takes 19 cookies and warns the worker: ‘Watch out, the immigrant is going to steal your cookie away.”’
In Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey is literally that banker who seeks to take away our “cookies,” our jobs and good schools just so he can give more money to his wealthy friends. And just like Trump, Toomey is playing on people’s fears in order to divide us and pass his dangerous agenda.
Building a better economy and a better society should be about breaking down barriers to opportunity for our children, not building walls. We are better than fear-mongering. Pennsylvania’s deserve better, and that’s Katie McGinty.
Katie McGinty has a clear plan to create jobs right here in Pennsylvania. She supports tax breaks for working families and make sure that the super-wealthy, like Pat Toomey, pay their fair share. McGinty has strong policies to help public schools and pre-k for our kids. She wants to invest in crumbling roads and bridges. She will fight for equal pay for women and for the right for all workers to join a union. She supports raising the minimum wage to $15 where Toomey opposes raising the minimum wage at all. Katie McGinty supports common sense immigration reform and could be the vote that makes a difference in Congress. Where Toomey has rhetoric and fear, Katie McGinty has actual plans to make our lives better. Katie McGinty is a million miles apart from Pat Toomey on policy and is resoundingly the best choice for Senate.
There are 440,000 Hispanic voters in Pennsylvania, the fastest-growing electorate, and more than enough votes to sway the Senate, and possibly the Presidential election. Voting is critical to make sure our voices are heard. This is our opportunity to have a say in the laws that we live under, just like everyone else. We cannot allow Trump and Toomey to use fear and hate for their own political gain.
By turning out in record numbers for Hillary Clinton and Katie McGinty, we will send a clear message that we reject hatred and fear-mongering, and are choosing love and prosperity instead.