The passing of Al Vasquez in November 2017 saddened many in the Coachella Valley as he was an inspirational individual, and a guiding light within the Hispanic Community. Al and wife Anna published La Prensa Hispana the only bilingual newspaper in the Coachella Valley. It’s a wonderful publication and continues to this day.Op
Al was an unassuming individual, you wouldn’t know that he was the publisher of a newspaper, that he served as a United States Marine, worked for the US Department of Commerce, earned a degree in Economic Development, or that he was a registered Republican.
I cannot say I knew Al Vasquez well, but on occasion we shared a meal and conversation at local functions. Through Al I came to understand that Hispanics are more aligned to conservative values than often thought. And, this was Al’s mission in publishing La Prensa Hispana. He wanted Hispanics to know that via their own culture, they are conservative. Their faith, connection to Catholicism and their commitment to family are typically conservative.
Like many conservatives Al was quite concerned about immigration, but from a very human point of view. At one particular luncheon we talked at length about our current immigration system and what it would take to improve the system. Al opened my eyes to the real challenges with immigration, all starting with challenges on the Mexico side of the border.
I remember him clearly saying, “The immigration system is broken alright, but not so much here in the US.” He went on to inform me of the serious crimes committed against those trying to reach the US from Mexico. The serious crimes of extortion, rape, human trafficking, sex trafficking and murder. We think we have problems here in the US, not so much! Al would tell you that the border is a dangerous and polluted place.
As Americans we can sit back and complain about President Trump and building the wall. But the reality is, building an impenetrable or almost impenetrable barrier will save lives and diminish the crimes previously mentioned.
And finally, if Al were here I think he would say, do you want to embrace liberalism, open borders and vicious crimes against the innocent. Or, will you take a more conservative stand, considering the greater good, the protection of immigrants crossing the southern border, and American citizens.
Al Vasquez was a pillar in our Coachella Valley and is missed greatly.