Dear United States President;
I write to you as a politically aware 17-year-old in Philadelphia. I can not vote this election year, however my opinion should still be expressed and heard. My background in a diverse school and city makes me a very fair judge on cultural relations. I have grown up around people of all different ethnicities, religions, and from different countries around the world. Furthermore, living in Philadelphia and learning about the city’s rich history my whole life has made me interested and informed about politics. The purpose of me writing this letter is to share this opinion:
The United States NEEDS to be open to the world. Immigrants bring talent, hard working spirits, and the potential for growth. The ways they can raise our country up severely outweighs any threats they pose. This country was built upon immigrant workers. Some came to seek safety from war, others to gain the freedom to practice a religion of their choice. However immigrants from all places came and they worked for a better life here, and that is what we call the American Dream. Shutting them out is both shameful and shutting down an opportunity for success.
Currently, immigrants are paying billions in tax dollars, contributing to our economy. A study from the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy found that illegal immigrants pay these billions in the forms of income, property, sales, or excise taxes, and that the number they are paying is around 12 billion. Furthermore, immigrants are skilled professionals, and not just low wage workers like they are stereotyped to be. However, in addition we do need people to fill those nitty gritty job positions and immigrants are willing to do that because they are hard workers. Without an open borders policy, we are missing out on economic and cultural expanse.
I also have another point, which is that immigrants from the middle east are being unjustly persecuted. I am going to share a story with you that triggers me because I know that this treatment is cruel, and it pains me to describe. My friend Kyle and his future Wife Rosie were starting their life in Philadelphia. Rosie grew up in the Middle East, more specifically Pakistan. She was unable to fill out a few papers before her VISA expired, and almost immediately she was thrown in jail. She may have been from a country where crime and danger is rampant, however she was kind and innocent. She told Kyle and I that she cried every night she was in jail, where she was locked up with real criminals in terrible conditions.
A written description can’t do justice to tell her experience, however if you talked to her you would realize how great of a person she is, and how terrible of a thing our country put her through. Today, Rosie is a productive citizen who has had no bad encounters with the law since. Rosie’s experience does not stand alone, and knowing her I feel I must say the way we treat immigrants from the Middle East is disgusting.
A survey from the Council of American Islamic Relations found that 25% of Americans held anti-Muslim attitudes and believed negative stereotypes about Muslim people. Most people coming from the Middle East are Muslim, and this creates a huge problem. We need a president who does not say things such as, “[...] a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States [...]”. This includes over a billion people from the Middle East and other places too, and most of these people are capable of being law abiding and productive citizens, as good as many of our own now. Our president should shake the stereotype of all Muslims being extremists and dangerous. Rosie’s experience is not the way we should be welcoming new citizens. I believe most people coming from the Middle East are good people like Rosie, and we are disrespecting them. I understand we need to keep the safety of our country in mind, however we can’t neglect our dignity or any immigrants.