Dear President Trump,
Ella Eyre’s “Good Times” rang loudly beside my bed when I woke up on January 12th, to my best friend calling me. I answered worriedly, asking “Hey what’s up?” She didn’t answer, I just heard the sound of her crying. “My dad got fired Kennedy. For no reason, they just…fired him.” She went on to tell me how the office had started to question all the Mexican workers, and when asking her dad, David, for his papers, he couldn’t provide them. They went on to lay him off with no explanation. He has no criminal record and no warrant for his arrest. Just a Texas worker who didn’t have the necessary documents to be considered a citizen, who is trying to have a better life for himself, and his family in America.
David is just one of the many undocumented workers in the great state of Texas. The booming population of Texas is key to our states job growth, and is fueled by a demand for services and construction. Undocumented immigrants contribute greatly to these demands and services. By cutting off Mexico and building a wall between us, President Trump, will personally be harming not only the Texas economy but America’s. We will harm our relationship with Mexico, and will also be effecting lower-wage jobs that fuels Texas’ economic growth.
“I don’t think he (Trump) understands completely, his position and how the border works now. And I live on the border, and he’s assuming and acting like there is no wall and there is already a lot of money being spent on border patrol, and keeping it sufficient,” says USC student Catherine Bedoya, who is studying Political Science and Major and Contemporary Latin/Latina Cultural Studies. That’s worth remembering when President Trump threatened a trade war over a border wall, as he did in January. Economically, there’s more at stake for Texas than any other state in the country. ProPublica stated, the fiscal 2018 price for President Trump’s border wall is$2.6 billion. That’s a cost to U.S. taxpayers, and the programs he’s preparing to cut to build the wall. Do you care about the visual arts? Theatre? Opera? The federal government could increase the annual combined spending on the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities by 900 percent and still not get to the $2.6 billion! The $2.6 billion is also more than twice the annual costs of 21st Century Community Learning Centers across the country. You could actually throw in the $190 million spent on teaching students with disabilities and limited English proficiency and still not match the wall costs. President Trump, America may get it’s wall, but we may have to do without a whole lot of other crucial programs.
In Texas business relationships stretch across the border. There are businesses that depend on the border relations staying strong. Alfredo Duarte, president and cofounder of Taxco Produce Inc. in Dallas added, “We don’t produce vegetables (avocados) here in the states in the winter. We have to import vegetables,” Duarte added. “If people are still wanting to eat guacamole.” Texas already is starting to feel the wavering U.S.-Mexican relationship in this Presidential era. “The way Trump talks to Mexicans, the way he talks about Mexicans is just…and yet you want our goods? Who do you think the people picking these things are, who do you think are the people in the factory?” says Catherine Bedoya.
Not only is it affecting our relationship across the border to import and export goods, but it’s affecting us locally. Texas has always drawn from a cheap labor pool that includes a large number of legal and undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants have taken jobs in many of the industries central to Texas’ economic boom, such as home construction, agriculture and the service industry. “Immigrants are worth more than their labor. Immigrant’s value is in their resilience and contributions to our country, not their ability to work hard labor,” states Amy Fischer, the policy director of the immigrant advocacy group, RAICES.
The fear that Trump is creating by threatening to send undocumented immigrants back to Mexico is causing fear, and hostility in cities across Texas. NPR reported in Houston, Texas police officers are troubled by this fear, and it’s chilling effect on crime reporting. They say the unintended consequences of Trump’s immigration dragnet will further isolate immigrants who are in the country illegally and are victims of crimes like sexual assault. In Houston and in other U.S. cities, police and immigrant advocates say it’s already happening. Jason Cisneroz, a community service officer in Houston said, “A couple of days ago there was a witness to a burglary of a motor vehicle, and she saw the suspects run to a certain place and with items they stole from a car, but she was afraid to come to police, she was in fear they would ask for her papers. They’re afraid that we’re more interested as a society in deporting them than we are in bringing justice to the victims of crime.” In May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the “sanctuary cities” bill. This bill requires all local jail officials to cooperate with federal immigration agents, and to check the immigration status of any subject they detain. Catharine Bedoya, Political Studies student, regarding this issue; “I have faith in this country, I know this country, and I know this country is not perfect, I know it has never been. I knew the sentiment was there — we’ve seen it. We see it in policies, we see it in laws, we see it in Supreme Court Cases decisions, but it has never been so blatant.” What’s good for Texas is good for Mexico. At the end of the day, we have to have this relationship, and yes, it might be more beneficial to one than the other but, if it’s not going to take Trump to re-establish that relationship, it’s going to take someone in Texas government to do it. President Trump, I hope I am not speaking out of term here but your powers are limited when it comes to Texas’ relationship with Mexico. At RAICES, Amy commented about the families she serves and how they are affected by these policies. “Every single day we serve children and families who have fled unimaginable violence and risked their lives attempting to come to the United States border to seek refuge. We serve families who have had beautiful, complex lives in the United States despite the fact that they are undocumented. Our country has no border crisis. Our country has a responsibility to protect the human rights and dignity of all, regardless of where they were born.”
David, should be able to have the same opportunities in Texas as anyone else. There needs to be a quick and efficient way for David to get due process where it’s deserved. It is unfair he got his job taken away because he didn’t have his papers, even though he works just as hard as the workers who are documented. America was founded by immigrants, and we are a country of immigrants. President Trump you are directly impacting people’s lives, my state’s relationship with Mexico, and furthermore the countries economy. This wall is a meek excuse to find a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. This wall represents nothing more than a pillar of racism and intense fear that will undoubtedly cost human lives. Maybe one day this letter will reach you in the White House, President Trump. But for now? I’ll just post to twitter and maybe you’ll feel compelled to retweet it.