(WYTV) - Hispanic Heritage Month continues has it celebrates the culture and contributions of Hispanics to the United States.
“It has been in place since Lyndon B Johnson and it was expanded under President Reagan,” said Rafael Medina from the Center for American Progress.
Medina said Hispanic Heritage Month started as a week-long observance and was expanded to a month-long celebration in the 1980's.
“Since then, every president signed a proclamation for the month, beginning on Sept. 15 and it goes until Oct. 15,” he said.
He said 2018 has been a difficult year for Hispanics, which he blames on President Trump and the White House.
“I think it’s very clear that he’s very insensitive and he doesn’t actually care about the Hispanic community,” Medina said.
He said even the annual Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation has been tarnished.
“Last year, President Trump signed the proclamation right after he had rescinded the program DACA,” said Medina.
The future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is still uncertain, said Washington Correspondent Alexandra Limon.
“Hispanics have also felt the effects of the president’s zero-tolerance immigration policy,” Limon said.
Chris Chmielenski is the deputy director for Numbers USA, an organization that strives to reduce total immigration numbers. He said it’s possible to celebrate Hispanic Heritage while also enforcing immigration laws.
“While the administration has implemented a zero-tolerance policy along the southern border, it’s not targeted at Hispanics. It’s anybody who crosses the border illegally is going to be prosecuted,” Chmielenski said.
He said Hispanics have made a large impact on what American culture is today.
“There are thousands, millions of Hispanics that have come to this county legally and have contributed over generations, and again, have made viable contributions to the United States, and I do think we should celebrate that,” Chmielenski said.
According to Medina, it’s more important than ever to remember all that Hispanics bring to life in the U.S.
“For Hispanic Americans who still believe in the American dream, who still believe in inclusivity, in culture, to grow apathetic and to register to vote,” he said.
He also wants to celebrate everything that Hispanics will contribute to the future.
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