In San Francisco’s Mission District, the city’s Latino neighborhood, the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the White House was met with a mixture of fear, resolve, and a come-what-may attitude.
“What happens will happen,” said Miguel Gustan, a worker who immigrated from Mexico. If immigrants are allowed to stay in the country, fine, he said, he and others will be able to continue working. But if not, “ni modo,” he said — it doesn’t matter.
Politicos were less carefree. Supervisor David Campos, the gay Guatemalan immigrant who represents the Mission District, had a fitful night and hardly slept. He spoke with his sister, he said, whose nephew asked whether the election of Trump meant their family would be deported — despite them being citizens.
“My nephew was born in this country,” he said. “I know a lot of kids who were born in this country who are having that anxiety.”
Trump’s victory, Campos said, was a “slap in the face” by those unhappy that the country elected a black president, unhappy with the legalization of same-sex marriage, and unhappy at the diversity of the population.
Going forward, he said, progressives must redouble their efforts to take control of the Democratic Party against moneyed interests, including Mayor Ed lee, who he called a “corporate Democrat in charge” of San Francisco.
“We need to challenge the status quo of the Democratic Party, whether it’s the status quo in City Hall or the status quo in Sacramento or the status quo on the national level,” he said.
Edwin Lindo, a former candidate for supervisor and one of five protesters who went without food for 17 days in April and May to protest police killings, said the election showed the country’s racism. The fate of immigrants, Muslims, women, and the LGBT community were on his mind, he said, because he worried that Trump’s campaign promises would become presidential policy.
“The raging white supremacy that we’ve been fighting against for quite a while has now become the president of the United States,” he said.
The halls of the Mission Economic Development Agency, a non-profit organization that provides workforce training, business loans, and other services to low-income residents, many of them immigrants, were empty. Its staff members had an all-hands meeting to address the election results, said Gabriel Medina, a policy manager there, and some decided to take the day off altogether.
The election, Medina said, was difficult to stomach. A Trump presidency could threaten San Francisco’s status as a sanctuary city or could pull federal education and housing funds that go to the organization, he said. Medina compared it to the George W. Bush presidency and said MEDA had faced hostile administrations before and would do so again.
“We have to continue the work because they want us to not continue to push forward,” he said.
On Mission District streets, the reactions were more sanguine. Many said they did not yet know what would happen but doubted Trump would be able to do much damage. Others said they were not afraid of the future.
“Fear? No, because I’ve been here a long time,” said Rafael Dominguez, who hails from Mexico. Immigration will probably be much more difficult, he said, but as long as work is needed, workers will come, he said.
“He can’t do anything illegal,” added Victor Castelan, from Stockton. “He can have some dumb ideas, but he doesn’t have absolute power.”
Still, others were shocked.
“It’s fucking surreal,” said 21-year-old Marvin Leal, a first-generation Nicaraguan student at San Francisco State University from Hayward. Leal said his family would be alright, since his mother and aunt just recently became citizens, but he worried about other undocumented Latinos.
“I’m thinking about some of my family who aren’t legal, all my friends who aren’t legal, friends who still have immigrant parents,” he said. “This doesn’t just affect me.”
“Racism, it’s pure racism,” said an undocumented churro vendor on Mission Street who did not wish to be identified. He was not worried about his own status — he’s single and works, he said, and would not be a target. But he worried Trump would split children from their parents.
“A lot of families have a lot of fear,” he said. “Who’s going to defend us?”