Recently I had the privilege of attending a creative writing workshop at PEN World Voices where I met truly amazing fellow undocumented CUNY students. This week, I asked my peers to join me in writing a collaborative open letter to a Donald Trump supporter.
Dear Donald Trump Supporter,
Thanks a lot, and thanks again for making the USA great again. People have now opened their eyes and can see that America has never been great due to its never-ending racism; which is what makes America great for the privileged but never for the repressed which are again thanks to you, awakening to stand up for what's right and will never again accept oppression.
I understand your fear of somebody coming into the country and robbing it of its culture and land. However, since we give hardly any reparations to the Native Americans, let us follow the purpose of the Constitution, and let us add more items into the melting pot that America is supposed to be. Lady Liberty does not stand for decoration. She is a beacon for the weary immigrants fleeing countries that won't allow them to reach their full potential. Voting for a misogynistic, immoral, racist who sexualized his own daughter will not make America seem "great," unless your idea of great is hypocrisy.
Some people may back him up by saying he isn’t racist. Sure, he isn’t racist by definition but he is spreading unfair racial stereotypes and by doing so he is extremely immature and a man without compassion. America is already great. However, it's people like you and Donald Trump who are shaming its true and evolved greatness.
The campaign slogans you hang so proudly say you want to make America great again yet you are only making American hate again. The first thing Trump said was that when Mexico “sends” its people it doesn't send its best. Even though he said Mexico, we know people like you use this term to refer to all Latinos. His statement not only insulted Mexicans but also all the hard working Latinos and immigrants that have come here wanting to better themselves. He calls us rapists, criminals, and killers. However when two men assault a Latino homeless man in his name, he calls them passionate. He claims that "the Blacks" and "the Hispanics" must be the one raping women and committing all the crimes but he does not pay attention to what's really going on. He turns his head away from the disproportionate and mass incarceration of Black and Latino men due to unfair law enforcement practices. Yet he still blames Mexico for sending the "unwanted."
You see, when Mexico “sends” its people it sends people who are willing to take on jobs that you can't or aren't willing to do. It sends people who help businesses grow and in some cases, come to own their own businesses. It sends people who pay taxes and contribute to the community. It sends people like us who are going above and beyond working, going to college, and actually trying to make America great again. We are people who are not afraid to get up every day at five in the morning only to spend our days at unsafe construction sites, on our knees scrubbing the floors of the privileged, or at degrading low wage jobs just to keep on living.
The other day, I was introduced to a new word. It was "xenophobia" or the fear of foreigners. Is it fear or hatred that you feel towards immigrants? Or both? Did you forget that many of us are daughters, sons, fathers, and mothers just like you? It somehow feels like history is repeating itself again. I thought we wanted a progressive democracy, but it seems that you forget about the "other" which are the immigrants working in restaurants, schools, houses, laundromats etc. We have made our presence visible at the national level. Just because you refuse to acknowledge us doesn't bring us down. It only motivates us to break down the stereotypes that you believe in. We will only be stronger after this. The hate you feed us only serves as a daily reminder of our purpose here: to live our lives and to make a difference.
As I recognize that you might not even acknowledge these arguments as your hate overclouds your judgment, let me ask you, how plausible are Trump's proposals? He wants to build a wall, but how much will this cost? Experts say it will cost more than $10 billion and may take up to 4 years to complete if it is even possible. There are geographical factors that would make the wall very difficult to even build. Your candidate wants to deport people. This will not only separate families but also leave jobs that many people cannot and will not fill. A similar situation happened in Alabama where they managed to move a big portion of the undocumented community out of the state. This had a negative effect on the state and imagine how it will affect the entire country. Trump's proposals will only deteriorate the economy as more than $10 billion is needed for his wall. Additionally, approximately more than $11 billion will be lost from the taxes that the undocumented community pays. There will be jobs that many people cannot fill and the cost for administering a mass deportation is enormous.
Trump's proposals are unethical and will only cause an economic disaster. Are you really going to let your hate and fear cause this much destruction? Are you willing to watch this country burn by a man who claims to have all the right answers even though they are all the wrong ones?
For all it's worth, we are all human beings. We share an innate human connection that neither you nor anyone can take away from us. We are immigrants, we are women, men, children and we are fighters. We will rise above racism, unfair stereotypes, prejudice, and misogyny. And we will not stop until those who demean us are listening. We won't stop until our rights are upheld. We are dreamers who have more than just a dream. In fact, as of now we are more than dreamers. We are doers and we are fighters. Our dreams from now on will only find their way to reality.
Mariana Arias Patiño
Miguel De Los Santos
Nancy López Ramírez
Dale St. Marthe
P.S. Not even your wall can stop us.