Grammy Nominations 2017

Luis Coronel on Why He's Voting: 'That Border Took a Lot Out of Us'

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images
 Luis Coronel photographed during Univision and Fusion RiseUp As One Concert rehearsals at Cross Border Xpress on Oct. 13, 2016 in San Diego.

"We don’t want someone like Donald Trump to separate us, to discriminate against us," the Latin superstar tells Billboard.

At 20 years old, Luis Coronel has already reached No. 1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart (with 2014's Quiero Ser Tu Dueno). Coronel, considered one of the most promising rising stars of regional Mexican music, spoke with Billboard on why it's important for him to cast his first ever vote in the United States presidential election. Here are his words.

I was born in Tucson, Arizona. My mom is from Caborca, Sonora, and my dad from Canelas, Durango. My entire family is from Mexico, and most of them are still there.

Voting here in the United States is important because we have to do it. I’m very involved in voting because I went through many things at a personal level.

My father was deported and I grew up without him for seven to eight years, seeing him only on the weekends.

He was an amazing man, my dad. He always gave us good advice, gave us our spankings if we misbehaved! He was a hardworking guy, a family guy; he went straight to work in the mornings, straight home at night.

He got arrested on a DUI charge; he didn’t have a license on him so he was arrested and spent two years in jail. Afterward, he was banned from coming back to the U.S. for 10 years. It was tough. We'd drive an hour over the border to see him on weekends, then drive back. 

My dad died when I was 14 years old, and that border that he tried crossing to give us a better life finally kept us apart.

I’ve never spoken about any of this before, but after my dad died -- he was hit by a car -- my mom went to Mexico, without any papers, not knowing if she'd be able to come back. That night, my brother and sister (23 and 21 years old today) and I went home at night, alone. But incredibly, my mother returned as well. She was able to cross back.

Everything that happened was something we could have never imagined. That border took a lot out of us.

For me, voting has to do with immigration, with borders. I don’t want someone like Donald Trump to be president, and I say it loud and clear, because being separated from your family by a border brings sadness, it brings pain.

We don’t want someone like Donald Trump to separate us, to discriminate against us. I want someone like Hillary [Clinton], who supports us and supports immigration reform. We have to be very focused. That’s why it’s so important for me to vote.

This will be the first time I vote. I already registered. It was exciting to do so, and yes, I was very nervous. I’m not sure why. But it’s nerve-racking to know you’re registered to vote in the presidential election of the United States.

-- As told to Leila Cobo