Trinis wary of Trump return to White House

A T&T national living in New York is fearful that should incumbent US President Donald Trump be re-elected, it could mean total deportation of all migrants regardless of their citizenship.

Expressing fears that riots and looting could erupt if Trump is given a second term in office, Nirveeta Charles, a family and marriage therapist living in New York, admitted that yesterday’s election had her uneasy and worried.

This, as millions of voters went to the polls to support either Republican nominee Trump or Democrat Joe Biden for the presidency.

Both rivals spent their final hours of the election race in key swing seats yesterday.

To be elected President, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in what is called the electoral college.

Up to yesterday, more than 100 million electors had already cast their ballots in early voting, amounting to 72.8 per cent of the total votes cast in 2016, according to the US Elections Project. Some polls opened at 6 am. The last polls closed in Alaska at 1 am today.

It was projected that approximately 156 million electors could vote in 2020, an enormous increase from the 139 million who cast their ballots in the 2016 election.

Voting was fuelled by the pandemic and was reportedly on course to be the highest electoral turnout in more than a century.

Issues such as immigration, systemic racism, the economy and poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic have defined the last four years of Trump’s presidency.

Residing in the US for almost three decades, Trinidadadian Alicia Jefferson, 43, chose to vote by mail in the state of Florida three weeks ago. However, she said concerns were raised by voters that some mailboxes containing ballots were broken into and tampered with.

“Some ballots were stolen, so some people did not put their ballots in the mailboxes as they had done in previous elections. People have been trying to stop you from voting. You have what you call voter oppression,” said Jefferson, a registered nurse who became a US citizen in 2008.

Jefferson and her husband Antwan dropped off her ballots at a post office to ensure its safety. Although Florida is known as a Republican State, Jefferson admitted she voted for Biden because Trump was a total disappointment. She anticipated it would take days before a winner is announced.

“I can’t stand Trump. I feel he is not here to unify the country. He just does not know how to be a president to the American people …only the Republicans.” 

Charles, who became a US citizen in 2013, expressed fears that the close race between the two rivals may lead to riots, saying the recent erection of a “non-scaleable fence around the White House” and the “boarding up” of businesses was unsettling.

She said the fact that Trump has not agreed for a peaceful transfer of power if someone else is elected was disturbing.

In 2016, she said the election was incident and riot free but in the coming hours, the country’s landscape could change.

“I feel there is a real possibility there will be civil unrests regardless of the outcome.”

Although Charles has been a US citizen for seven years, she said she is still looked upon as a migrant.

“I can identify knowing what it is like to be in a country where you are not a citizen…so that unrest, uneasiness and anxiety before I became a US citizen is coming to the surface now. I am very fearful of what the consequences could be for immigrants in the country … their documents and their papers could be up in the air … esepcially if there is a lot of civil unrest.”

Charles said other migrants felt the same way.

“I feel worried for other immigrants in this country if Trump is re-elected. It would cause a lot concern because he could do what he wants to the migrants.”

She also said there were fears another term in office for Trump could see COVID-19 cases skyrocketing and more deaths.

“To me, COVID-19 would get worst before it gets better.”

If Biden is put in power, Charles said he would implement a federal mandate for the entire country to follow and not leave it up for each State to handle the pandemic on their own.

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