The divide between urban and rural America was clearly apparent in our country’s last election. Hillary Clinton won the popularity contest by around three million votes because of her strength in the inner cities. The results were the same from coast to coast, wherever the minority population had the numbers to make a difference.
Donald Trump, the New York City billionaire, ironically had the geographical support among small town folks, farmers, coal miners and those who felt big government shunned them like an ugly, red-headed step child. In those type of scenarios, the Electoral College sometimes comes into play and that’s the way our forefathers wanted it, like it or not.
Now that Trump’s victory is official and reality has set in, big city leaders are scrambling for funds to combat the new president’s promise to deport most of the nation’s undocumented residents. Here in the States, everyone is granted the right to legal council, regardless of their financial situation. Even international criminals on trial for violent acts or drug trafficking are granted representation in a court of law. That is not necessarily a privilege for more than 11 million men, women and children, many from Central America, who came here due to extortion and violence in their native countries. And what about the “dreamers” who came here with their Mexican parents through no fault of their own? Entire families face a future that is uncertain.
“People who have built their lives here in America (should) have rights, and they deserve all the protection our legal system provides,” reasons Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti.
So, plenty of work behind the scenes has begun to combat this problem. The city of Chicago kicked off the cash surge on December 3rd by pledging $1 million in legal defense funds for the undocumented, money secured by a surplus in a tax rebate program. Quick to follow suit with its own plan was New York City, and now Los Angeles has put together a package of $5 million in legal support. The financial goal is to actually double that figure when numerous Hollywood celebrities are expected to jump on board. Here’s a list of heavy-hitters who might feel a moral obligation to aid the cause, based on their prior track records:
Rosario Dawson, a top notch supporting actress who has appeared in over 50 films since 1995 and has homes in both Los Angeles and New York. Her net worth is estimated at $16 million.
Cesar Millan, 47, the controversial producer and star of “The Dog Whisperer” on the National Geographic Channel, is a sure bet to make a contribution. The Culiacan, Sinaloa native has reportedly accumulated holdings in excess of $45 million.
Eva Longoria, actress and longtime activist, has perhaps been the most vocal about the plight of the undocumented. The award-winning star of “The Young and the Restless” and “Desperate Housewives” isn’t shy about her beliefs, and her successful career with a net wealth of $35 million has provided a powerful forum.
Besides entertainment personalities, this financial movement has plenty of movers and shakers in the trenches. One powerful political insider is Maria Cardona, the founder of Latinovations and an advocate for Latino interests while serving in various posts within the Department of Commerce and the INS. A public relations pro, Cardona sits on the board of several non-profit Hispanic groups such as New America Media, Citizenship Counts and inSPIRE Stem USA. The 50 year old Colombia native also works for CNN/CNN en Espanol and is known as a master fundraiser. Also wielding some clout is Janet Marguia, the CEO of the National Council of La Raza that oversees more than 300 community-based Latino agencies across the country. Even staunch GOP kingpins like Carlos Gutierrez , the ex-CEO of Kellogg and a George W. Bush cabinet member, are committed to doing the right thing. The Havana-born Gutierrez, 63, created the SuperPAC Republicans For Immigration Reform in 2013, and crossed party lines to vote for Clinton.
Despite hard-line campaign promises to repeal Obamacare, Donald Trump has recognized that some parts of the bill are beneficial and must remain intact. Faced with a fierce fight, it’s likely that the President-elect will soften his stance on deportation as well, simply because the majority of advisers will be twisting his arm. The priority now seems to simply kick out the “bad hombres,” but so called “Sanctuary Cities” might be reluctant to share their records with the federal government.
What Donald Trump needs to understand is that the majority of folks illegally crossing the border these days are not Mexicans. They are refugees from lawless lands like Honduras and El Salvador. Sending them back would be a death sentence and each case demands an investigation and legal assistance. After all, understanding regional issues, let alone solving intricate problems on the other side of the globe, hardly compares to producing a reality T.V. show.
-Steve Randel Cover photo courtesy of KTLA.com