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 Yahaira Carrillo and I'm undocumented. As I write this, over 20 undocumented youth are risking arrest and deportation to demand that Congress take action for the DREAM Act. Just over two months ago, I, along with two others, became one of the first undocumented immigrants in U.S. history to do the same. Like Mohammad Abdollahi, who wrote you a letter on Monday, I too am queer. I risk being deported to a machista country, Mexico, where killings related to homophobia are rising.
I was born in 1985 to a barely-turned 16 year-old who had been kicked out of her house while she was pregnant for being a disgrace to thefamily. I lived with my mother in an abandoned house in Guerrero, Mexico. She struggled to find work, but was either harassed or asked for sexual favors. She said no. She was 17 in 1986 when the 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico. She decided to take me to the U.S., but we didn't stay that long. At my grandmother's request, we returned to Mexico. The hits kept coming: my mother ended an abusive relationship with a military man and feared for her life.
Then, my father called- after abandoning my mother while she was pregnant and being MIA for most of my early years, decided he wanted us to join him in California. My options have always been limited. I was 8 years old when I came to the U.S. When I was 14, my 18-year-old boyfriend wanted to marry me. I said no. When I graduated from the top of my high school class, I thought I couldn't go anywhere. My parents were migrant farm workers- college wasn't likely. But years later, I found a private college in Kansas that would accept me. I worked myself to the bone, and obtained an Associate's Degree. Today, I am working towards my Bachelor's degree. According to my calculations, it will take me eight years.
I've had people tell me that it's not a big deal, that I should keep on waiting for the DREAM Act to pass. My life has been on pause, rewind or replay for years. Waiting is not an option. That is why undocumented youth like myself are risking everything, right now, to pass the DREAM Act, this year. If we're putting our lives on the line for this, Mr. President, the least you can do is call members of Congress and ask them to do the same.
It started with 3 undocumented youth sitting in John McCain's office, and it has escalated to 20. How many more will it take before Congress passes the DREAM Act?
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