Sergio Eduardo Velasquez is an activist from Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit that informs students on college campuses about conservativism and the free market.
Velasquez spoke on May 22 with Alex Marlow, the editor-in-chief of Breitbart News, about how he came to his current political stance.
“In 2016, I supported Bernie Sanders,” he told Marlow.
“I fell into your typical leftist stereotype. I was self-entitled. I believed that more government was the answer to everything. I chanted ‘racism.’
“I failed to look at myself in the mirror and failed to consider that if there was an issue it might be not that society was the problem, but that I myself was the problem.”
Velasquez said that a big part of what influenced him to become conservative was “growing up.”
Marlow then asked Velasquez about how he had decided to ultimately become an activist.
“I assume you don’t know another home, but at least one of your parents was not here legally—so this is your home as far as you know, though your status as an immigrant is not a legal status aside from this DACA protection, but still Trump resonates with you, why?” Marlow asked.
“It goes back to realizing that it’s one of those things where you have to realize you’re the problem,” Velasquez responded.
“I have no problem with saying I’m an illegal immigrant, the term doesn’t offend me,” he continued.
“I can recognize that illegal immigration is not a good thing. I can recognize that legal immigrants have to come first.
“America is a sovereign country. You don’t barge into someone’s home and tell them, ‘Alright, I’m here to stay, give me free stuff.'”
Velasquez honed in on the idea of entitlement as he continued.
“I like to tell people that illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, no one’s entitled to everything,” he said. “Immigrants owe absolutely everything they have to this country, and we need to stop this nonsense of entitlement.”
Velasquez said that there are many who share the same views as him but they are afraid to speak out for fear of being demonized. He included his own experiences as an example.
“In high school, only when I started to question the left, a lot of my friends turned against me, a lot of my teachers were criticizing me.”
Velasquez said that the way that those on the political left respond to people who do not agree with them “is so toxic that it keeps kids like me from saying [my] beliefs.”
He said that others are afraid of speaking out and expressing their beliefs because “who wants to be called a racist, who wants to be called sexist, misogynist, xenophobic?”
Velasquez spoke about what it’s like to be a conservative in Los Angeles:
“You can have the most right-wing beliefs, you could be so passionate about what you believe. The chances are that you would not speak out about it because of the demonization that you’d face.
“And even something as small as joining a college club, because of just how terrible the left treats you, how terrible [they] respond.”
He advised those who have come to the United States illegally that it is “part of growing up” to realize that illegal immigration is “not innately a good thing.”
“First of all to the dreamers, you know, there’s nothing wrong with admitting that your family or you made a mistake,” he said.
“It’s not self-loathing, it’s part of growing up. It’s part of realizing that you have a responsibility to yourself, to be able to call out the things you’ve done, to be able to accept it and to find a way to rectify that.
“And it’s also a duty to this country. If you love this country, and now it’s your country. It’s your duty to this country to be able to submit and follow its laws. America is such a wonderful place and it’s such a gracious country,” he said. “It’s all about compliance and personal responsibility.”
“And for the conservatives who are afraid of speaking out, of coming out conservative. One, if you’re afraid to come out because you might lose friends, anyone who chooses to stop being your friend over your political beliefs, was never that good of a friend to begin with.
“If you’re afraid of losing clout, it’s so trivial, it’s not necessary.”
“And if you’re afraid of the backlash and the demonization … If you focus on other people’s negativities, you’re never going to get anywhere,” he said.