Cesar Chavez, in a way, is looking over President Joe Biden’s shoulder

Bust of Latino icon in the Oval Office behind the Resolute Desk

Longtime political analyst Henry Flores said he thought the bust behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office appeared familiar.

Flores said, “I took a closer look and I said, ‘My goodness, that’s Cesar Chavez!’”

The late Cesar Chavez is the Latino icon who helped organize farmworkers and co-founded the United Farmworkers, along with Dolores Huerta, who coined the phrase, “Si Se Puede.”

Chavez was posthumously presented the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, by President Clinton. Huerta also was honored by President Obama with the Medal of Freedom.

Flores said the bust of Cesar Chavez was among President Joe Biden’s cherished family photos as he signed more than a dozen executive orders on Thursday. Some were actions taken by President Trump targeting immigrants.

Flores said he asked himself what kind of message was the newly-inaugurated President trying to send.

He said the message to Latinos seemed clear, “You’re part of the family. We welcome you in.”

Biden has made Latino issues a top priority to start off his new administration, Flores said.

Among them, extending protections for Dreamers brought to the U.S. illegally as children by their children, a pathway to citizenship for them and other immigrants, as well as stopping construction and funding for the border wall.

Flores said, “These are things that a lot of them have wanted for a long, long time.”

Despite President Trump’s impressive inroads on Election Day among Latino voters in South Texas, Flores said Latinos in Nevada and Arizona helped Biden win the presidency.

He also said Biden understands that Latinos are the nation’s largest minority.

“We’re much larger than African-Americans and our population is proliferating all over the nation,” Flores said.

He also said Latinos now have greater representation in Congress, including Congressman Joaquin Castro, who will serve as an impeachment manager in Trump’s upcoming trial.

However, Senator John Cornyn tweeted Thursday the immigration proposal that Biden has put forth has a “lack of clarity.” In his tweet, Cornyn said, many Democrats have told him privately that it was “mostly symbolic — a gesture to advocates that’s unlikely to come to fruition.”

Flores said he acknowledges Democrats hold a slight majority in the house, with a 50-50 split in the Senate, so Republican support is still needed.

If not, Flores said Republicans could pay a price for not supporting Biden’s Latino agenda.

“If they’re the ones responsible for not getting this legislation through, he’ll just point to them and say, ‘Look, which party really cares for you?’ That’s what he’s saying.”

RELATED: Biden signs burst of COVID-19 virus orders, requires masks for travel

About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Bill Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.

Recommended Videos