Jorge Ramos spoke about being an immigrant and journalist in the age of President Trump at Harvard University's Goldsmith Awards Ceremony. Ramos provided his transcript to TIME.
No Mister Trump, I am not your enemy. But I don't want to be your friend, either.
That's the end of my speech. Now, let me tell you how I got there.
I am an immigrant. I am a journalist. And I am the father of Nicolas and Paola.
These three things define me.
I'll spare you the details of my wonderful experience as a father. But I'll just say that Paola – who is actually a Harvard Kennedy School alumni — and Nicolas taught me what is really important in life: to be yourself, to care for one another and, when needed, to defend with all your energy what you believe in.
So let me concentrate on the other two things that define me. I want to tell you what it means for me to be an immigrant and a journalist in the era of Donald Trump. I feel such a sense of mission that, at 58, I think I've been preparing all my life for this moment, for this fight.
Yes, it's a fight.
FROM THE ARTICLE
This country gave me the opportunities that my country of origin couldn't give me. I left Mexico in 1983 because of censorship. Back then you simply couldn't criticize the Mexican president in the media. I tried and failed. So just imagine my shock when I arrived in the U.S. and everybody was criticizing the American president with no consequences. My first thought was: I love this country!
Every immigrant can tell you this story: that something pushed them out of their country of origin and that something else, just as forcefully, pulled them into their new, adopted nation.
What pulled me in was, initially, the freedom of the press (a freedom that I had never experienced before in my life). But there was also something else. I was just an immigrant and a young student at UCLA Extension, trying to re-invent my life, and the beautiful thing is that everybody treated me as an equal.
What Alexis de Tocqueville observed in his book, Democracy in America, in 1835 was still true in the 1980's, when I arrived in Los Angeles. The concept of "equality of condition" is still a part of life in America. Of course there is plenty of racism and discrimination to go around. But every infraction, every attack and every abuse has always been confronted with that wonderful phrase in the Declaration of Independence: "All men (and women) are created equal".
My American education was based on two principles: I can say whatever I want — as long as I'm responsible for every single word I say — and everybody is equal, regardless of the color of your skin, your accent, your country of origin, your religion or your ideas.
That's how I grew up here. That's what you taught me. And I embraced those two principles with all my heart.
Since then my goal has always been that all the immigrants who came after me should be treated with the same generosity with which I was treated. That wasn't always the case. But, in general, I never felt that the immigrant tradition in the United States was at risk.
And then came Donald Trump. I never expected that the son of a Scottish immigrant, with a German grandfather and married to a Slovenian, would be such a threat to millions of foreigners and their American-born children.
On June 16, 2015 he said that when Mexico sends its people "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." He didn't say some of them or a tiny minority or even a few undocumented immigrants. No, he didn't say that.
I am a Mexican immigrant. He was talking about me, and millions like me. And I knew he was wrong.