Photo by Lili Kibel

Dear President Trump

I am a teenage girl, born and raised in New York City, who has been living in sunny California for the last three years. I am not here to criticize you or express how angry I might be at the choices you’ve made in your first 175 days in office. I’m here to share with you a different point of view from what you can see behind your desk in the oval office.

Immigrants are the backbone of our society. They do many jobs that native-born Americans do not want to perform. People who come from outside of our country are often willing to work in terrible conditions for minimum wage. They perform tasks that many Americans have forgotten are important. Over 40 million Americans were born outside of the United States, according to the 2010 Census, and 14 million people came to the United States from 2000–2010, the most in any decade in our history (1). I have spoken to many people about what they think of immigration and some of the new policies you want, and the one word that resonated from all of them is “fear.”

Hamilton is a mid-20s, working-class citizen born and raised in the United States from two undocumented parents. He now works as a clerk for the Los Angeles City Council. He believes in the American dream and in giving back to the country that has allowed him to live his life freely. “California is home to more than 10 million immigrants — about one in four of the foreign-born population nationwide. In 2015, the most current year of data, 27% of California’s population were foreign born, about twice the U.S. percentage.” (2) Hamilton explained to me that he does not “…think people want to come back here (America) like back in the day” as there are “a lot of people worrying about leaving or getting kicked out” of the country. He worries more about his parents than he does for his own life, as he knows he has more of a chance to succeed in the United States than his parents do. But not only does Hamilton think of himself and his family, he worries for the younger generations with illegal parents because he knows how hard it is to be a child of undocumented immigrants. Hamilton made clear that the children of his community are “not focused anymore” on themselves or their education.

Carol, an immigrant from Guyana, is another person who disagrees with some of the choices you have made since you became President. She moved to New York City for a “better life, better job opportunities, and a higher education”. When she was a small child, her mother moved to America and became a house-keeper. After working very hard, she earned enough money to sponsor Carol and her three siblings and soon after they moved to the United States. Carol was able to attend Kingsborough Community College and is now an accountant at a high-class communications firm in the Big Apple, right by one of your buildings. Carol lives in Queens and even though she is a legal immigrant, fear still lurks in her and her 26 year-old son’s shadow due to the color of their skin. She stated that “any time he (her 26 year old son) goes out I have to keep calling him asking him, ‘Are you OK are you OK?, are you OK?’” She said she “really [doesn’t] feel safe in this place since Trump became president.” The United States of America is supposed to be the home of the brave, but millennials do not see our country in that way any longer. They see fear. Fear of one another inside and outside of our country. Our country has become isolated by the color of our neighbors’ skin.

Kristin is a construction worker who was in the Navy and worked the World Trade Center cleanup after 9–11 in New York City. She now works for Caltrans and considers herself “very patriotic”. Kristin believes that “communities will be broken up if these laws (that you want to enforce) are enacted” and feels that it would hurt our country.“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested more than 41,300 undocumented immigrants” in your first 100 days, which “represents a 38 percent increase from the same time period in 2016…” (3).

President Trump, I know you want to protect our borders and you believe that keeping people out instead of allowing them to remain is the answer. The majority of this great nation disagrees (4). You — Mr. President and your wife, who might I add is an immigrant, are living the American dream. Don’t you want others to dream like you?


Maya Jade Frank