Nathalie Baptiste

Nathalie Baptiste is a writing fellow at The American Prospect

Recent Articles

Deportations and Clinton’s Latino Outreach

Hillary Clinton has come under fire for failing to sufficiently galvanize Latinos, a bloc of voters key to Democrats in both the presidential and Senate contests. The Washington Post this week quoted critics saying Clinton had run too few Spanish-language ads, and spent too little on targeted messaging.

But there may be another reason why Clinton’s performance lags behind President Obama’s in 2012: Obama’s own deportation policies, which have drawn fire from Latinos on several fronts. These include the Obama administration’s deportations of the children who crossed the border in droves two years ago to flee violence in Central America. Overall, the administration deported 2.4 million people between fiscal 2009 and 2014. And non-criminal deportees outnumber those charged with crimes.

Deportation orders dipped when Obama signed the executive order known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which would have shielded several classes of immigrants from deportation. But a series of state lawsuits and a Supreme Court deadlock have blocked the administration from implementing that order, and Latinos remain frustrated. Some of that frustration seems to be spilling over to Clinton—despite widespread Latino antipathy to Trump.

“People are very disappointed and they don’t want to vote,” said Adriana Cazorla, a domestic worker from Washington state. “They don’t want to be guilty of putting a person in office who will do the same as [Obama].”

Cazorla made her comments Friday at a march from the Supreme Court to the White House organized by the National Alliance for Domestic Workers and several allied groups. The march brought out hundreds of immigrant women, many of them undocumented, to deliver a message to Obama: Stop the deportations.

Dubbed the Immigrant Women’s Walk Against Deportations, the event took place on the one-year anniversary of last year’s 100-mile march for immigration reform. Before the march Cazorla told The American Prospect how she had been hiding from an abusive husband when he found her and called immigration officials. She was detained for four months in a detention center.

“I was treated badly, given spoiled food, had no access to potable water or medical attention like the rest of the people did,” Cazorla says of her time in the detention center. Cazorla says she now has legal status thanks to the Violence Against Women Act—but that her children, who were without their mother for four months, suffered the most during her detention. The separation of families was a big point of contention for the marchers and their supporters.

“Many children worry about it,” Cazorla said with tears in her eyes. “They go to school with fear that they’ll go back home and their parents won’t be there.”

Marcher Patricia Rosas described how she immigrated to the United States from Mexico more than two decades ago with her children. But four years ago, her son was deported back to Mexico. “I brought him here when he was one year old,” said Rosas, “so he was basically raised here. When he got to Mexico, he didn’t know what to do or where to go.” Rosas’s son left behind a wife and a two-year-old son. “He wanted to be with his son, so he tried to come back,” explained Rosas, “but he was apprehended and was deported again.”

Rosas said she was marching in hope that DAPA would become law so, that “after 26 years, I can see my mom and my siblings again.”

Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

The goal of wealth equality in America is a long way off.

Viktor Gladkov/Shutterstock
Viktor Gladkov/Shutterstock The racial wealth gap has gotten so wide that if the average wealth of black families continues to grow at the same pace it has over the last 30 years and the average wealth of white families remained stagnant, black families would still need a stunning 228 years to amass the same amount of wealth that the average white family has today. For Latino families, the picture isn’t much better: it would take 84 years for a Latino family’s average wealth to match average wealth of white families. The goal of wealth equality in America is a long way off, and according to a recent Institute for Policy Studies report, if no action is taken on the racial wealth gap, it may never close. The primary way to build wealth in the United States is through homeownership, and the federal government spends billions of dollars on mortgage interest deductions . But for decades, discriminatory housing policies essentially prevented families of color from buying homes,...

Community Policing in a Time of Crisis

Community policing programs can improve relations between police officers and residents, but current tensions underscore the challenges.

(Photo: Sipa USA via AP)
Two years ago on August 9, 2014, Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed Michael Brown, a black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri, setting off months of unrest that brought into full view the longstanding tensions between police departments and communities of color in the United States. Since Brown’s death, police conduct and racial injustice have remained in the headlines, while the national conversation has shifted to community policing, accountability, and transparency. But in some communities across the country, little has changed. The Guardian estimates that police have shot and killed more than 600 people so far this year, including Philando Castile in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Paul O’Neal in Chicago. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and law enforcement officials discussed police departments’ responses to this ongoing crisis at the recent National Association of Black Journalists/National Association of...

Korryn Gaines and the Criminalization of Disabilities

A new study released in July asserts that the criminal justice system discriminates against people with mental disabilities.

AP Photo/Morry Gash
AP Photo/Morry Gash A prisoner stands in an isolation cell in the Dane County Jail in Madison, Wisconsin. On Monday morning, Korryn Gaines joined the growing list of black people killed by police this year. Baltimore County police officers shot the 23-year-old mother inside her suburban Baltimore home after arriving to serve her a warrant for failure to appear in court for a traffic violation. Police officers say they shot Gaines, who was cradling her son, because she pointed a shotgun at them. In the immediate backlash over her death from the wider black community and activists, The Washington Post reported that Gaines might have suffered from lead poisoning as a child , which can lead to cognitive and behavioral disabilities. She also appeared to be suffering from some sort of mental breakdown in the months leading up to her death. A new study released in July asserts that the criminal justice system discriminates against people with mental disabilities, putting them at more risk of...

Black Lives Matter Movement Splintering at DNC

Protests against police violence worked their way through downtown Philadelphia, in opposition to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Convention.

(Photo: AP/John Minchillo)
dem_convention_icon.jpg While Democratic delegates were busy nominating the first woman to lead a major-party presidential ticket, Black Lives Matter protesters were downtown outside Philadelphia City Hall driving home a message their own: “Don’t vote for Hillary, she’s killing black people.” The contrast between the chanting activists outside on the gritty, hot Philadelphia streets and the cheering delegates inside the festive, air-conditioned convention hall are the starkest indications yet that that the Black Lives Matter movement is poised to split between people who support more vigorous protests and those who favor working within the political system. Tuesday’s Black DNC Resistance March attracted hundreds of people of all ages and races. Marchers wore “Stop Killing Black People” T-shirts and waved signs depicting the names of the scores of black men and women killed by police in recent years. Some protesters carried large white banners...