According to a story in the Washington Post, Hispanic-owned construction companies that bid on President Trump’s border wall have been getting death threats for “betraying their community.” The paper reports that although there are thousands of Hispanic-owned construction operations in the U.S., less than 40 have bid on the controversial project.
In interviews with the Post, Hispanic contractors who bid on the project explained why they did so and what kind of price they’ve paid for their supposed disloyalty.
“A lot of people are saying, ‘You’re Latino. How can you build a wall to keep other Latinos out?’ We had to do a lot of soul-searching before we jumped into this because it’s obviously a very, very controversial topic,” Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga, owner of the Penna Group, told the paper.
He said that he believed that the U.S. had a right to protect and defend its borders.
From the Post:
Evangelista-Ysasaga, whose grandparents emigrated from Mexico, said he fielded five death threats one morning alone this week from “random people calling into the office and just screaming.”
Every sovereign nation has a duty to defend its borders, he told callers. Unfortunately, he said, a “certain segment” of American Latinos have cast supporters of the border wall as “racist.”
Other Hispanic bidders told a version of the same story, though their reasons for participating in the project varied. Some had no opinion and were making a purely economic decision, for themselves and for their Hispanic crews. Others disagreed with the concept of the wall but wanted to make sure it was done in a humane way. But they all agreed that there would be social and economic consequences for any Hispanic company chosen to work on the wall.
It would be a work of political genius, though, for the Trump administration to hire a Hispanic company for the job. Not in a: Ha, ha, we found one of the few Hispanics in the country greedy enough to do it…kind of way, although that’s no doubt how the media will portray it. No, in a way that demonstrates that this wall has NOTHING to do with Hispanics or even Mexicans, more specifically. It is purely about illegal immigration, national security, and the law.
Judging by the polls – which essentially control the mood of Congress – the wall needs a bit of a PR campaign if Trump wants to get his funding. Hiring a Hispanic contractor who can patriotically argue the case for the project wouldn’t be the worst idea. Just make sure you find one with the, um, cojones to stick it out.