Dear Donald Trump,
We are two first-generation undocumented immigrants from Mexico: Ivan Ceja and Justino Mora. We are the first members in our families to graduate from high school and attend college, Cal State Dominguez Hills and UCLA, respectively. Recently, you made statements referring to Mexican immigrants in the United States, labeling them as criminals, rapists and drug dealers. We beg to differ.
We are none of those things, and neither are our parents, relatives and the millions of other immigrants across the nation. We are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, students, entrepreneurs and citizens of the world who came to this country in search of a better life and opportunities to realize the American Dream.
The lack of respect you displayed towards immigrants on the day you announced your candidacy for the presidency is unacceptable and shameful. How do you expect to win a presidential campaign by attacking the very backbone of this nation? According to the Center for American Progress, 16.6 million people live in mixed-immigration-status families, and our ability to influence local, statewide and national elections is rapidly growing. Remember this fact the next time you decide to speak about us in front of the camera. People like you who intend to run for the U.S. presidency should be seeking our approval, not bashing our parents and grandparents. You would think that a businessman such as yourself would never forget who built this nation, brick by brick, railroad by railroad, stone by stone.
Over the past six years, we have dedicated our lives to fighting and advocating for our rights and for those of our loved ones. Three years ago, we even co-founded what is now a non-profit organization that advocates and informs undocumented immigrants across the nation. Whereas you spread bigotry, ignorance and hate, our parents have taught us to promote respect, compassion and empathy.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world," and we seek to do just that. The ideals that we harvest -- the ones we carry in our hearts to guide us as we seek to bring about change -- are deeply rooted in the history of our parents' upbringing in Mexico. Despite having had very little in Mexico and arriving to the United States with nothing, they remained humble and worked hard to give us the best they could. We are not ashamed of where we come from, but rather strive to be recognized for what we have to contribute.
This week, we embark on our newest journey -- building a startup company over the next 10 weeks as the first undocumented immigrants to participate in Startup UCLA. We are very privileged -- privileged to have the support of our loved ones and our community. Our business model will embrace diversity and welcome everyone, regardless of their immigration status or nationality, to collaborate with one another and participate in the political process to move this nation forward.
We would like to remind you of something you said in 1987: "I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present." How do you expect to have a chance at winning the presidency when you disregard and disrespect the fastest growing demographic in the United States? You should take your own advice and learn from the present: the more hate you spew out of your mouth, the more companies and organizations will cut ties with you. More recently, you stated that "infectious disease is pouring across the border," without thinking about the consequences of making such bogus and hateful claims. If there is one thing history has taught us, it is that hate is one of the most contagious and destructive diseases known to humankind. Please stop spreading it. We will not sit back and watch as you continue to insult our values and traditions. Instead we will contradict every one of your statements by means of our actions.
Ivan Ceja and Justino Mora
Co-Founders of UndocuMedia, Inc.
Co-Founders of Polibeats