deja h. Pennsylvania

Dear Future President

My letter to the future president.......

Dear Next President,

September 11th, 2001, was a day that changed everything in America, a day that will never be forgotten in history. September 11th, 2001 was a day when we were under attack, a day when we were vulnerable. We were scared. Under the presence of fear our entire system changed. We believed that the things we were doing were protecting us when in fact they were harming us.

The people who attacked us were immigrants. Since that day we haven't looked at them the same. Now immigration has always been a problem in this country, with overpopulation and the increasing need for jobs but it never spiraled out of control this much. Today there is more fear than ever of more attacks on America. I feel as though as a defense mechanism we try to shut everyone out from us and that's not the right thing to do. Every immigrant is not evil just because a few of them are. Just because a few of them attacked us doesn't mean they all will.

Our systems have changed. Now immigrants are hassled and prosecuted at airports because people of their race are classified as terrorist. I understand that you guys think you are doing these things for the betterment and protection of our country but I don't think you guys realize that you are causing more pain than protection. We say that we are an accepting country, that we represent freedom and liberty for all, but then we go and contradict ourselves by only allowing people that fit our standards of an American citizen. So I ask you next president what is an American citizen to you? Does one need to be born in America to be a citizen? According to US laws one is a citizen after they pass the Naturalization test. So how after taking this test is one still not considered a U.S citizen? The results from their test proved they were so why is their citizenship in question.

I believe another significant influence on how we treat immigrants is overpopulation. Yes, America is overpopulating but what else is new. As long as there is a US, people will want to come here. We believe we can solve this issue by simply sending people back from whence they came but we won´t. How do we have the right to kick out someone who took a series of trials to become a citizen and live here and just tell them to return to their homeland. Is it because we were born here? They are just as much and if anything more citizens then we are because we never had to prove ourselves citizens, they did. We were never tested on how ¨American like¨ we were but they were. So how aren't they American, how do we still classify them as immigrants if they take a test that legally makes them an American.

Fear makes people react in crazy ways. We experienced it first hand after the sudden changes we faced after 9/11. To me America is scared. We don't know what's next for us but we are so quick to point the finger and blame the innocent when we never think to look at ourselves. We are our own biggest downfall and things need to change here before they get any worse and I don't believe building a barrier around ourselves is the answer. We need real change. So future president how do you plan on helping us make that change?

Sincerely yours,

Deja Harrison

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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