The “DREAM Now Series: Letters to Barack Obama” is a social media campaign that launched Monday, July 19, to underscore the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, S. 729, would help tens of thousands of young people, American in all but paperwork, to earn legal status, provided they graduate from U.S. high schools, have good moral character, and complete either two years of college or military service. With broader comprehensive immigration reform stuck in partisan gridlock, the time is now for the White House and Congress to step up and pass the DREAM Act!
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
My name is Tania Unzueta and I’m undocumented.
I have lived in Chicago since I was 10 years old. I came with my mother to join my father, who had found a stable job and a promise to legalize his status. Eventually our tourist visas ran out, and my family became undocumented.
For years we lived in a small basement, then a small apartment. When we moved here, my dad had been offered a job with the promise of regularizing his status through employer sponsorship, 245-i. Our family was going through that process when the workers began to organize a union, and asked for the support of my dad. He gave it to them, which resulted in his dismissal from his position, and an end to the sponsorship.
I too have tried and failed to regularize my immigration status. When I graduated from high school I went to Mexico to try to apply for an international student visa, so that I could attend the colleges to which I had been accepted. Even though I was the captain of my swim team and an honors student, my visa was not accepted. Eventually I was able to get a humanitarian visa to come back to Chicago. I pinned a lot of hopes for my future on the 2003 DREAM Act. It failed. I hoped again in 2007- to the same result. Ever since then I have only tried to do the best I can with my life, trying to have a balance between being happy, giving back to my community, and working for the passage of the DREAM Act.
I was there with the DREAM Act 5 in John McCain’s office when three undocumented youth made history as the first undocumented immigrants commit civil disobedience and get detained with the aim of changing U.S. immigration law. I was also one of the DREAM Act 21 to get arrested, for the second time in U.S. history, on Capitol Hill in a mostly successful effort to get Congress shift towards taking up the DREAM Act this year (any and all help offsetting the costs of attending our court date is appreciated, by the way). How many more youth will have to detain themselves before Congress passes the DREAM Act? How many more lives have to be put on hold or lost to the shadows before our leaders act?
The time to pass the DREAM Act is now. Please join us.
The “DREAM Now” letter series is inspired by a similar campaign started by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Every Monday and Wednesday DREAM-eligible youth will publish letters to the President, and each Friday there will be a DREAM wrap-up. If you’re interested in getting involved or posting these stories on your site, please email Kyle de Beausset at kyle at citizenorange dot com.
Approximately 65,000 undocumented youth graduate from U.S. high schools every year, who could benefit from passage of the DREAM Act. Many undocumented youth are brought to the United States before they can even remember much else, and some don’t even realize their undocumented status until they have to get a driver’s license, want to join the military, or apply to college. DREAM Act youth are American in every sense of the word — except on paper. It’s been nearly a decade since the DREAM Act was first introduced. If Congress does not act now, another generation of promising young graduates will be relegated to the shadows and blocked from giving back fully to our great nation.
This is what you can do right now to pass the DREAM Act:
- Sign the DREAM Act Petition
- Join the DREAM Act Facebook Cause
- Send a fax in support of the DREAM Act
- Call your Senator and ask them to pass the DREAM Act now.
- Email kyle at citizenorange dot com to get more involved
Below is a list of previous entries in the DREAM Now Series:
Mohammad Abdollahi (19 July 2010)
Yahaira Carrillo (21 July 2010)
Weekly Recap – Tell Harry Reid You Want the DREAM Act Now (23 July 2010)
Wendy (26 July 2010)
Matias Ramos (28 July 2010)
Weekly Recap – The CHC Has To Stand With Migrant Youth Not Against Us (30 July 2010)
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page