Dear Donald Trump Supporter, By Undocumented Students

Dear Donald Trump Supporter, By Undocumented Students

"The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you'll get the action" -Malcolm X

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.


Undocumented Students

Jessica Acero

Erika Apupalo

Mariana Arias Patiño

Miguel De Los Santos

Stevieanna Elva

Apolinar Islas

Nancy López Ramírez

Gabriela Martínez

Dale St. Marthe

P.S. Not even your wall can stop us.

Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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To Fix Taxes, We Have To Rethink 'Wealthy'

"Wealthy" doesn't mean the same for everyone.


When discussing taxes today, so many politicians are quick to rush to the adage "tax the rich." Bernie Sanders has called for the rich to be taxed higher to pay for Medicare for All. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for a 70% tax on the wealthy.

However, all of these proposals are missing a key thing: a true definition of rich.

When thinking about what counts as rich, it is important to distinguish between the "working wealthy" and the "investment wealthy."

The working wealthy are the people in society that get paid highly because they have a high skill set and provide an extremely valuable service that they deserve just compensation for. This class is made up of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. In addition, the working wealthy are characterized by another crucial aspect: over a long term calculation of their earned income over time, they don't come out as prosperous as their annual incomes would seem to suggest. This is because this set of the wealthy has to plunge into student debt for degrees that take years to acquire. These jobs generally also require a huge amount of time invested in lower-paying positions, apprenticeships, and internships before the big-money starts coming in.

On the other hand, the investment wealthy is completely different. These are the people that merely sit back and manipulate money without truly contributing to anything in society. A vast majority of this class is born into money and they use investments into stocks and bonds as well as tax loopholes to generate their money without actually contributing much to society as a whole.

What makes the investment wealthy so different from the working wealthy is their ability to use manipulative techniques to avoid paying taxes. While the working wealthy are rich, they do not have AS many resources or connections to manipulate tax laws the way that the investment wealthy can. The investment wealthy has access to overseas banking accounts to wash money though. The investment wealthy can afford lawyers to comb over tax laws and find loopholes for ridiculous prices. This is tax evasion that the working wealthy simply does not have access to.

That is why it is so incredibly important to make sure that we distinguish between the two when discussing tax policy. When we use blanket statements like "tax the rich," we forget the real reasons that the investment wealthy are able to pay such low taxes now. Imposing a larger marginal tax rate will only give them more incentive to move around taxes while squeezing the working wealthy even more.

Because of this, in our taxation discourse, we need to focus first on making sure people pay their taxes, to begin with. Things like a tax of Wall Street speculation, capital gains taxes, a closing of loopholes, and a simplification of the tax code. These things will have a marked improvement in making sure that the investment wealthy actually pays the taxes we already expect of them now. If we stick to the same message, the only thing we will be changing is the rate that the uber-wealthy are avoiding.

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