Syeda K. Pennsylvania

Letter to the Next President

A letter to the next president about immigration

Dear next president,

I know that there are many controversial political topics to take into consideration when you are elected. One of the main issues that still exist is the situation of immigration, which not only was a problem of the past, but it is still very relevant to this day. How Americans feel about immigration is very divided; while some believe that they are detrimental to the United States, others believe that they bring many benefits to the country as a whole. There are more than 61 million immigrants residing in the United States, and because my family and I are among that large population, I am very connected to the topic of immigration and feel very strongly towards it.

Immigration has impacted social identity categories such as race, and in some cases, it has made people more closed minded. For example, if you see someone who looks foreign or is a different race than you, you may immediately think that they have immigrated from somewhere, even if they were born in America. Donald Trump is clearly against the Mexican race in specific, entering the United States, and he was quoted at the Trump Tower Atrium on June 16, 2016 saying, "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.’’ This discrimination has happened in the past with Mexicans as well. From 1848 to 1928 there were a lot of Mexican lynchings by mobs, and even though there were thousands of murders, records only show around 547 cases. Mexicans tried to fight back against this oppression their people were going through by protesting and getting assistance from defence agencies such as the League of United Latin American Citizens. In a document about lynching from the Journal of Social History it says, ‘’The only way to prevent further lynchings was for Mexicans to rally in protest. Yet it was the very fear of mob violence that frightened [many] into silence.’’ Even though they were fighting back, people were still scared of the white mobs.

Another thing was the discrimination and segregation that Chinese people faced during the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This exclusion act was passed because a lot of American workers felt threatened by the Chinese men who were very different compared to them in terms of work ethic and character. In an autobiography from 1903 written by Lee Chew, a Chinese immigrant, talks about this, ‘’But the trouble is that the Chinese are such excellent and faithful workers that bosses will have no others when they can get them. If you look at men working on the street you will find a supervisor for every four or five of them.’’ He is saying here that they are more trustworthy than other workers, who require more supervisors than the Chinese workers.

More and more Chinese men came to find jobs in San Francisco, and were monopolizing the boot, shoe, and cigar industries. In a letter written to the working men of San Francisco in 1888, it says, ‘’This state of things brings about a terrible competition between our own people, who must live as civilized Americans, and the Chinese, who live like degraded slaves. We should all understand that this state of things cannot be much longer endured.’’ They are saying that there should not be any type of competition between workers, and because of the Chinese men, there are problems. Compared to the Americans, the Chinese were not as civilized as them according to the Americans. The reason for writing this speech was to get the word around about the Chinese workers, so they could exclude them. Because of this act, Chinese immigration went from 40,000 people to just 23.

The next president should be someone who does not discriminate or favor certain races and generalize an entire group of people. They should be someone who treats everyone equally, and aims to make the lives of Americans, including immigrants, better. It is not acceptable anymore to discriminate anyone because of their gender, their race, or their sexuality, so it should not be okay to make it acceptable to discriminate against people just because they are from a different country. Everyone who is emigrating to the United States is coming to build a better life for themselves, and it is unfair to take away their given rights and put them in positions where it’s hard for them to live in stable conditions. History should never be repeated, and the next president of the United States should not allow problems that happened in the past to occur again. Immigrants bring a lot to our country; they boost the economy, they bring their skills and experiences, and they make America a lot more diverse through their cultures, traditions, and lifestyles. They are just like everyone else, and they have their own dreams and goals which is what they are in America to achieve. Everyone in America deserves life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness equally.



Science Leadership Academy @ Center City

Science Leadership Academy @ Center City

We are high school students from Philadelphia! We've been studying immigration in U.S. history so many of our letters include our opinions on this issue.

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