Latinos on Roosevelt Avenue Hope that Trump Will Change

Martha Laura Ramos hopes that God will soften Trump’s heart. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

Martha Laura Ramos hopes that God will soften Trump’s heart. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

Roosevelt Avenue, 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 9. Donald Trump finished his victory speech an hour ago as the president-elect of the United States. There are few people on the street, and bars are beginning to close for the night. It is not cold. Martha Laura Ramos, who charges men $2 per dance at the Melao nightclub, drinks water and smiles under the deafening roar of a passing 7 train.

“Maybe God will soften Trump’s heart and he will not deport Latinos and my compatriots,” said Ramos, a mother of four who used to sell food at some corners on this avenue full of Latino businesses. “We Latinos are fighters. We don’t come to steal but to produce.”

There is uncertainty among the Latino community in New York and the United States regarding what Trump will do once he takes office in January as president. The topic of immigration reform, the construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, deportations, the separation of families and the future of “Dreamers” are some of the issues that keep Latinos awake at night, particularly the over-11 million who are undocumented.

“I am against his being elected president because he has insulted Latinos and disrespected women, even though he is a well-educated man,” added Ramos before the sun came up. “Mexico’s president, Peña-Nieto, welcomed Trump, and that is going to help us.”

“As a Latino, I cannot focus on the bad because that will attract bad things, and it is possible that Trump may change his mind and help us,” said Flavio Olazagasti as he waited for his order at the Tacos el Gallo Giró food truck.

On Wednesday morning (from left to right,) Antonio Valle, Luis Nolasco and Flavio Olazagasti talk about Trump’s win. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

On Wednesday morning (from left to right,) Antonio Valle, Luis Nolasco and Flavio Olazagasti talk about Trump’s win. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

To Luis Nolasco, this nation depends on immigrants, and “we hope that he will change its mind because, if he kicks out undocumented people, the economy will crumble down.” The smell of carnitas tacos filled Roosevelt Avenue.

“We all thought that Hillary Clinton would win, and the outcome of the election has taken us by surprise,” said Antonio Valle. “Trump knows that recently-arrived immigrants work in his companies, and everything he said against them was to gain publicity and to become president of the United States.”

Olazagasti, Nolasco and Valle chatted about the election as they read Wednesday’s edition of the amNEWYORK newspaper. The front page featured pictures of Clinton and Trump, but it did not say who had won.

At that hour, Bob Anderson, who is African-American, distributed copies of the free newspaper. He was very precise in his comments: “Now, with this president, what we’re going to have is cuts and cuts and more cuts of all sorts for the working class. Trump will cut many social benefits and he will build a wall on the border with Mexico, but we’ll see if he is able to do all that with the approval of Congress.”

Anderson said that many people supported Hillary Clinton in this Queens neighborhood. “I saw many people handing out flyers for Hillary, and it’s a shame that she lost.”

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