November 14, 2016

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | The Tears I Shed Allow Me to Debate

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To the editor:

Amidst all the criticism of elite university students being fragile liberals, a letter to the editor was submitted to The Sun, which claims that students who were hurt to the point of tears ought not to be taken seriously. Frankly, after reading that letter I was painfully frustrated with the notion that students who cried were simply stubborn, disappointed toddlers.

While I cannot speak for the students who organized the Ho Plaza “Cry-In,” I can speak for myself. I was utterly devastated by Donald Trump’s victory.

So I, too, have a confession: I’m an undocumented student with DACA and I cannot vote. I spend plenty of time protesting, writing letters to the editor, writing to legislators, and engaging in political debates. I can qualify my understanding of many policy issues with seven years on my high school and university Speech and Debate teams. I have been forced to argue policy issues from both conservative and liberal sides. Yet, in the moments after Donald Trump was declared the president-elect, I was curled up the fetal position under a blanket, crying. I am not weak or incompetent because of my tears; I am simply a person trying to live my life and have a future, and now that seems impossibly difficult for me to accomplish.

At the crux of the author’s argument is the misunderstanding that this is simply a “disappointment” for people. Unfortunately, this is not just a “disappointment.” This is a threat to my safety and my way of life. I urge you to consider the very real consequences this election has on millions of people. A robust policy debate will not keep me from being stripped of my permit to work and from being deported.

I am allowed to shed as many tears as I need to. I am allowed to admit that I am vulnerable. And I am allowed to engage in self-care in whatever way I please.

However, if this alumna does not want to consider the possibility that for many of us who are marginalized and dehumanized by Donald Trump’s agenda, his victory is one that threatens our life, then I would like to engage in a pure “policy debate” of my own.

The author claims that events like the “Cry-In” are a misuse of student money. The sponsoring organization, Planned Parenthood Generation Action is funded in part through the Student Activities Funding Commission, which has its money allocated to it by the Student Assembly Appropriations Committee, which allocates money from each student’s contribution. One might have noticed through a bit of research that the SAFC doesn’t just fund left wing organizations. The Cornell Republicans are also funded through SAFC, and while I may strongly dislike many of their activities, I do not write letters to the editor every time I see that they’ve used my money to take part in an activity I simply disagree with. In fact, the Cornell Republicans are current allotted more than five times the amount of SAFC money that Planned Parenthood Generation Action receives. Moreover, the hot chocolate being distributed was likely not funded through student activity fee money, given that according to the SAFC guidelines, food and drinks are not reimbursed through SAFC budgets.

There is no preferential treatment in terms of funding occurring here, and the argument that student money is being misused simply sounds like what the author accuses liberals of doing: refusing folks right to express themselves simply because they disagree with them.

If the author would like to discount my argument because I have shed a few tears, consider that, prior to writing this letter, I actually Googled the funding sources which were critiqued, and engaged with factual information. I am allowed to engage in a debate, but I am also very well within my right to cry about whatever I please, wherever I please, especially if my safety is concerned in the matter.

Julia Montejo ’17

  • Joe Vadis

    Let’s stop with the revisionist semantics, ok? “undocumented student” = illegal alien = someone who broke our laws and entered our country with total disregard to our rightful borders.

    So stop bitching and whining about poor you and deal with the consequences of your criminality.

    • Kavin Lam

      So given that the author is a college senior, she most likely didn’t break laws with our will.

      Secondly, what are you talking about when you say “rightful borders”? ??? ?? Are you seriously saying the history of oppressing, mass incarcerating, and killing natives to take their land means that US borders are rightful? Because last time I checked, using your definitions, the founders would also be “illegal aliens”. Your argument is internally inconsistent.

      It is easy to forget the humanity behind our laws and I get that, but your inability to even try to see the humanity in this person who fears that she’d be taken away from her home is a tragedy. I feel sorry for you.

      • Joe Vadis

        Bugger Off! Your logic is consistent with that of a crack addled pea size shrivelled mass atop your spinal column. Yea, that which you insist is a brain!

        • Rowan Yearley

          The commenter’s logic not withstanding, you seem to be content to ‘debate’ through crass personal attacks. If you have a counter-point I suggest you say it and if you find a flaw in the logic of an argument, explain that flaw. If you cannot find either thing however (which I’m not even implying that you can’t, it is possible), don’t resort to petty aggression because it only makes you look like an ignorant asshole. I will demonstrate if you want, I just called you an ‘ignorant asshole’, this is not a personal attack but rather a conclusion I reached based on the blatant ignorance and assholishness of your comment. I invite you to prove me wrong.

      • zeke

        Kavin- whether you like it or not and regardless of its treatment of the Indians, the United States is a sovereign nation with “rightful borders.” The United States has the legal right to restrict anyone it chooses from entering into the country. Your logic reminds me of the old joke about the person who kills his parents and then asks the judge for mercy because he is an orphan. By the way, it is believed that the Indians migrated from Asia. So, there were no original inhabitants.

  • bob young

    I havent stopped smiling since we vanquished the far left marxist agenda propagated by the democrat regime. To quote the God awful predisent obaama. “elections have consequences,” and “we won, the republicans [democrats] may have a place, but it is in the back of the bus.”

    • Jesus

      Your worldview (i.e. “back of the bus”) has a place, and it’s back in the 1950s. Grow up.

      • zeke

        Those were Obama’s precise words to Republicans. Are you suggesting that Obama is a segregationist or not a grown up?

  • Matt Snyder

    You purport that you have every right to “cry” because of the election results, but from that you are either willfully ignoring national legislature or you are taking advantage of a misguided process. Perhaps both. The fact that you are an illegal immigrant that expects equal treatment among citizens, let alone suggest you are more deserving of sympathy because of it, undermines the system in which students are constantly denied monetary aide. While I do not discredit your desire for acceptance nor berate you for the situation you are in, the fact is that you are accepting aid that neither you nor your parents have paid into, and are demanding that people support this societal norm. They shouldn’t. And you shouldn’t guilt trip people into supporting this notion.

    • Please learn basic facts about the U.S. economy

      “you are accepting aid that neither you nor your parents have paid into”

      wait but

      “Collectively, America’s undocumented immigrants pay an estimated $11.64 billion in state and local taxes every year with at least 50 percent of undocumented immigrant households filing tax returns using Individual Tax Identification Numbers.

      Many who do not file tax returns still have taxes deducted from their pay checks. Out of that $11.64 billion total, undocumented immigrants pay $6.9 billion in sales and excise taxes, $3.6 billion in property taxes and about $1.1 billion in personal income taxes. ITEP estimated that if America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants were granted citizenship allowing them to work legally, current state and tax contributions would be boosted by over $2.1 billion a year.”

      Stop contributing to the false rhetoric that undocumented immigrants don’t contribute to our economy and our country. Economists, liberal AND conservative, agree that the U.S. economy would crumble without undocumented immigrants. Every single day you consume products produced by and benefit from the work of undocumented immigrants; it is literally unavoidable. Read about Arizona’s immigration laws to see why undocumented immigrants are essential to the economy.

      • zeke

        The taxes collected from illegals are a pittance compared to the costs to society. Costs of schooling, medical care and the criminal justice system, just to name a few, far exceed the pennies that illegals pay.

        • justwantedtosay

          Taken from The Hill: “The Congressional Budget Office in 2007 answered this question in the following manner: “Over the past two decades, most efforts to estimate the fiscal impact of immigration in the United States have concluded that, in aggregate and over the long term, tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants—both legal and unauthorized—exceed the cost of the services they use.” According to the New York Times, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration claims that undocumented workers have contributed close to 10% ($300 billion) of the Social Security Trust Fund.

          Finally, the aggregate economic impact of undocumented immigration is debatable, but any claim that they’ve ruined the country doesn’t correlate to the views of any notable economist. An open letter to President George W. Bush in 2006, signed by around five hundred economists (including five Nobel laureates) stated the following: “While a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to our economy, including lower consumer prices.”

      • FlameCCT

        Apparently the economists fail to see that the USA has far more citizens without work than illegal foreign nationals. The also fail to see that those citizens have been ignored by the Obama administration in favor of illegal foreign nationals.

        The US economy would not crumble because there are far more citizens who need work to support their families instead of relying on government handouts to get by.

    • But wait there’s more

      Additionally, undocumented students are illegible for federal and state financial aid and can only receive scholarships and aid from privately funded sources, including the university. If Cornell willingly accepted her and provided her financial aid, it is because they knew she would contribute positively to the community and the school, and if you knew the author you would know that she gives back to Cornell more than 99% of the student body with her leadership in Student Assembly and across campus.

      Tell me more about how she is accepting aid that is undeserved. And tell me that, in her situation, if you were offered the opportunity to attend an Ivy League school that you wouldn’t have done the same.

      • Bee

        *snaps* I appreciate these facts.

  • Student

    Thank you so much for your story! You are strong, you are human, you deserve respect and rights. I stand with you.

    • Joe Vadis

      LOLOLOL….you are as silly as the crybabies! You little punks are so NOT ready for the real world. I cannot help but think what pushovers you will be when you actually make it to your teenage years…if you ever do. Oh! You think you’re past that stage? Nein! You are still in pre-adolescence as per your inability to MAN UP!

      • Rowan Yearley

        First of all, a certain individual not withstanding, statistics show that most college students are at the very least in their teens. This commenter didn’t even make an argument, he or she simply wrote a short message giving support for the author of what is (in my opinion) an incredibly well worded and meaningful letter. If you spent less time needlessly attacking people then you might be more informed on both the average age of a college student and the negative impact that electing a demagogue like Donald Trump has on United States of America. You stay classy pal

        • Joe Vadis

          My reference to you punks and pansies making it past your teenage years was meant as an insult in that your actions are not the actions of mature young adults, rather the puerile actions of infantile young teens, or even more so, pre-teens.

          So take it as it is meant. As an insult.

          • Rowan Yearley

            You insult us by calling us juvenile and yet you can’t put forth even the most basic valid argument against any of our points, resorting instead to childish insults against people who want nothing to do with you. It’s quite ironic really. I hope you feel validated in being an ignorant prick.

          • Joe Vadis

            Since I cannot find anything of value in your alleged arguments, I choose not to waste my time engaging your nonsensical vitriol, and prefer to spend it taunting you incessantly, as it pleases me to no end watching you get your panties all bunched up.

            Valid arguments are created by people of value and intellect. You and your sort do not qualify as either.

  • Ezra

    Well written and thoughtful. I appreciate the time and emotional energy you must have expended writing this for the community, and I feel for you. Obviously some internet trolls unassociated with Cornell have decided that the Cornell Sun is a threat to their ideology somehow. The amount of hate and anti-intellectual sentiment toward our students has really disheartened me. I hope more Cornell students, parents, and alums will start voicing their opinions to support our brilliant Cornell students who now feel marginalized and unsafe. These people telling everyone to “grow up” and “get over it” are acting like bullies and are trying to scare or humiliate people who are expressing opposition to their views. We can’t let that happen.

  • zeke

    Perhaps if undocumented students did not wave Mexican flags, root for the Mexican soccer team when they play the US team, make numerous ridiculous DEMANDS of this country and urge the annexation of the southwest to Mexico, they would garner more sympathy from the citizenry.

    • Rowan Yearley

      You are literally suggesting that people should fear enacting their right to freedom of speech for the sake of not incurring penalties from governing and legislative bodies, that is the definition of oppression. Just because someone is undocumented or not an american citizen, doesn’t mean they do not have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of speech is not only a right in america, but a basic human right. What are these ‘ridiculous demands’ you speak of? If you make an argument, back it up with evidence, although I highly doubt you will find evidence indicating that undocumented immigrants are universally making ridiculous of this country. Do you honestly think that waving Mexican flags or rooting for the Mexican soccer team when they play the US team is some kind of attack or ‘ridiculous demand’? Maybe undocumented immigrants would ‘garner more sympathy from the citizenry’ if a large majority of the citizenry weren’t so ignorant and incapable of compassion, or even basic recognition of not only human rights, but the rights upon which America as a whole was founded on.

      • zeke

        Rowan- I will get back to you later. I’ll just say now that everything in your comment is absurd.

        • zeke

          Rowan- your reading comprehension skills are sorely lacking. Your grammar is also pretty pathetic. I can only hope that you are not a Cornell student. Anyway, your first mistake is to bring freedom of speech into the discussion. It is not relevant. There is no suggestion in my comment that undocumented students have no right to speak. I did not propose that actions be taken by the government in retaliation for things that undocumented students say. By the way, you may want to reconsider your statement that free speech is a basic human right. Most countries do not guarantee free speech. The United States is an exception. And more ironically, liberals, including those at Cornell, are not proponents of free speech. What I was saying was that American citizens might be more welcoming to illegal immigrants if they did not act like they hate America. Many citizens understandably do not feel people that wave Mexican flags have any desire to assimilate. As for ridiculous demands, how about the absurd request that students not wear sombreros because that is cultural misappropriation? What about a school principal requiring students to not display the American flag on Cinco de Mayo? More generally, people who are breaking the law daily by being here have no right to make any demands, of any kind.

          • Rowan Yearley

            First of all, I would like to ask how supporting your countries soccer team while that team plays against another countries team directly translates to hating that other country? I personally didn’t cheer on the US team when they played against Mexico because I hate Mexico, but that may just be me. I also want to take this time to inform you that your location and residence do not change your cultural roots. America is a diverse country, and people from all over the world do not have to abandon their national and cultural roots just because they live in America. I’ve lived abroad most of my life, in fact I just became a dual citizen, and at no point in becoming a dual citizen was I asked to not wave my home countries flag around if I ‘desired to assimilate’. I agree with you that it isn’t quite right to demand people not wear sombreros, or to forbid the display of the American flag on Cinco de Mayo, however I think you are making both a grossly inaccurate generalization when you say that illegal immigrants are ‘demanding’ these things from the American people. First of all, the issue of forbidding the American flag to be worn can be singled out to a school district in California, not the United States as a whole. The school district (not even at the request of any student, Mexican or otherwise) made this decision, it was not ‘demanded’ by anyone. As for cultural misappropriation, that is a whole other debate, but I do agree that people should be allowed to wear sombreros. However, my point is that these ‘demands’ that you claim are being made of America by undocumented immigrants are not really as universal or prevalent as you seem to imply they are. Also, your issue seems to be with Mexican residents in America as a whole, undocumented or otherwise, as these ‘issues’ you have brought up are either just perfectly fine examples of celebrating one’s own culture, or just ignorant, uninformed, or downright incorrect generalizations. I’d like to inform you now that there is no evidence to suggest that Mexican residents (undocumented or otherwise) are as a whole ‘demanding’ these things of America. I thought that in an argument about illegal immigrants you would bring up points about taxes or even illegal residency, but you seem to be worried instead about Mexican residents hating America by supporting their own soccer team, or about Mexican residents taking away your right to wear an American flag t-shirt or a sombrero. I again would like to assure you that there is no evidence to suggest that that is the case, and I hope that you can rest easy tonight with the knowledge that the big-bad immigrants won’t come into your room and wave their flags at you (and in doing so showing how much they hate America). I also hope you remember this reply during FIFA 2018 before you start worrying that all British residents hate America because they (shockingly) cheer for the UK when the UK plays the US.

    • mzengg

      Undocumented =/= Mexican

      • Rowan Yearley

        This is a fair and important point. According to the Department of Homeland Security, Mexican immigrants make up around 62% of undocumented immigrants in the United States. While Mexican immigrants make up over half of all undocumented immigrants in the United States, it is still not fair to forget the 4.9 million other undocumented immigrants from various other countries around the world. The issue of illegal immigration is so often directly associated with immigration from Mexico, which is a gross generalization. This also brings me back to my point that the original poster does not seem to take issue with illegal immigrants as much as he does Mexican residents as a whole within the United States, a stance that is both ignorant and uninformed.

  • Rowan Yearley

    Also, I do hope my reading comprehension skills were good enough for me to fully understand the nuanced and complex argument you presented for me. Similarly, I hope my grammar is good enough so that you can understand at least a basic idea of what I’m trying to say. If this is not the case, I invite you to inform Cornell University of my failings so that I may be unenrolled from all of my classes and withdrawn from the university as a whole.

    • zeke

      What percentage of your tuition do you pay?

      • Rowan Yearley

        I pay a percentage of my tuition, however I don’t see how that’s relevant to my argument in any way. Whatever percentage that is however, is none of your business, and does not change or impact the validity of my argument in any way.

  • lets just be honest

    Amidst all the criticism of elite university students being fragile liberals

    lets just be out with it.

    you people have nothing in common with the average citizen outside of your ivory tower and the disconnect is so great we may as well be talking to each other from different parts of the galaxies

  • Mitch Vogel

    It appears that the intellectual race to the bottom is well under way here, in addition to Youtube comment sections and the White House. Try to ignore the haters, we’ll pass a sensible immigration policy for you and other law-abiding socially contributing migrants one day.

  • FlameCCT

    I would suggest being more upset with the Progressives including President Obama. He had a bullet proof Congress during his first two years and did nothing for immigration, using illegal foreign nationals as a political ploy. Instead of working within the law and with Congress, he chose to use Executive actions in the belief that his party would not lose control of the WH and would gain control of the Congress. Now the Progressives have no possibility of keeping their promises to illegal foreign nationals although that is normal for Progressives as they haven’t kept their promises to assist minorities and others for over 100 years.

    You are now suffering the unintended consequences of believing the lies and propaganda from the Progressive Plantation which has been rejected by the We The People, not because they are racist, sexist, misogynist, Nazis, etc. but because they are tired of the lies and propaganda.