Dear Mr. Trump,
Imagine that your mother is crying. She is completely distraught and all of her belongings seem to be packed away in a suitcase. There is no chance of you making any sense of this. You are only four years old. The next day, your mother has vanished and you are sent to live with your relatives across town. Only in later years will your family explain to you, “She has gone to the United States”. The only contact you have now are monthly phone calls and paychecks. In the United States, your mother works fiercely to provide for your family. Without the money she sends, your family would be in ruins. Millions of households have the same story. Immigrant mothers and fathers travel to work here in the United States because of the chance for a better life and economic opportunity. However, America is doing everything in its power to prevent these immigrants from coming. As a result of these anti-immigration acts, we get more illegal immigration. The fact is that these people have to come here to survive, and America must account for that. Our immigration policies need to change because immigrants want to come here for a better life, they need the United States’ economic opportunity, and when their children follow, they are treated inhumanely.
People come to America because they want a better life for themselves and for their family. An immigrant may come from a town where running water is rare and hot water from the tap is unattainable. This is while you, Mr. Trump, have lived and grown up in a country where running water is an essential and hot water is a given. In this same town, a child would have to walk to school, barefoot, on a dirt road, cutting up his feet on the sharp rocks. This is while you, Mr. Trump, had your mother tie up your shoelaces every morning before elementary school. Throughout the day, you snack on cheese and crackers, while this child starves because he hasn’t eaten since lunch yesterday. Now, you are probably reading this right now scorning at the poorness of this child and thinking how dirty and disgusting these people are, or maybe, “Why would I let someone like that into our country?”. Have I called you out? That scorn, Mr. Trump, proves the misunderstanding you have of these people. Immigrants are just like you and me and like the millions of other American citizens you govern. They are trying to find a better life for themselves and provide for their families and children, just as any other human would do.
Furthermore, these humans do not want to break the law to come to the United States, they do it because they have to for the money and to survive. Therefore, you should make working visas easier to obtain. The decision to immigrate to America is a choice between life or death for most. This is because unemployment and sub-employment rates in Honduras are up to 43%. One cannot support a family with no job opportunities or living wages. It is to the point where 30% of their children’s growth are stunted because they have so little to eat. In contrast, the United States has a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and an unemployment rate of 7.9%. Jobs are plentiful here and the economy is booming compared to these immigrants’ home countries. However, obtaining a working visa is still very difficult. You must obtain a job offer already in America and the petition must be approved by the U.S. Immigration Service and the Department of Labor. All in all, this is a process that takes 150-210 days. Most people do not have the resources to wait that long for a job. In a New York Times article, written by Michael D. Shear and Miriam Jordan, they explain that you, Mr. Trump specifically ordered all new visas to be suspended, and that just last year you blocked visas from being applied to a wide variety of jobs. America should take a stand for these immigrants and alter the policies to make these transactions quicker and more effective so that immigrants can work, boost our economy in the process, and help these families. After all, America is about working hard towards your dream and for these people, that’s exactly what they are doing.
Later, after the adult immigrants travel to America for hard earned work, their children soon follow and are often caught and treated inhumanely. Imagine being left as a child at 5 years old and you must travel to America to find your parents because you miss them so much. 48,000 children enter the U.S. illegally every year with this same incentive. When they have finally made it past all of the hardships that come with their journey, a percentage of them are immediately thrown in INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) prison. As young as 12 years old, these children are housed with felons and rapists in a tiny jail cell. They don’t get fed nearly enough and only receive an hour of sunlight a day. With no information as to when they will be released, these children get desperate. They start to run in circles and talk to themselves, slowly growing suicidal and depressed. No human deserves what these children endure in jail. We need to give these children a fair trial and reunite them with their families, whether this is in the U.S. with a legal citizenship or back to their hometown families. These are children as young as seven years old who are risking their lives just to be able to hug their parents again. As a country, we should respect that and rebuild our immigration terms in their favor, in order to strengthen the morality of our government.
With all these things considered, immigration policies need to change in support of a moral government. Punishing immigrants for searching for a better life and throwing their children in prison is dishonorable. We have to reinstate our policies to be more forgiving and less forceful. Without the reconstruction of immigration laws, America will see even more illegal immigration. America is the land of freedom and opportunity. We cannot selfishly hoard these privileges, while immigrants have to smuggle themselves in to get a taste of it. These immigrants need the United States in order to survive and to provide for their families. It is inhumane to ignore their suffering. If we do not act, millions of households will be left in the dust, millions of immigrants will be deported from their homes, and millions of children will be swallowed into the despair of federal prison. Our economy will be significantly harmed and we will be culturally drained. If you act now, Mr. Trump, and make immigrating to America safer and easier, working visas painless to obtain, and prohibit the prosecution of innocent children; America will be great again.
An American Citizen
[In consultation with the author, this letter has been published by the Forge anonymously.]