Originally posted on Citizen Orange.
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!
Dear Mr. President,
My name is David Cho and I'm undocumented.
I will be a senior studying International Economics and Korean at UCLA this upcoming Fall. While most of my friends will enter the workplace after graduation, I will not be able to even put my name down on a job application because of my status. I'm a hardworking student with a 3.6 GPA and I am the first Korean and actually the first undocumented student to ever become the conductor, the drum major of the UCLA Marching Band in UCLA history.
My parents brought me to this country when I was only nine years old. I went to school not knowing a single word of English, and I often became my classmates' object of ridicule - many bullies perpetually and ignorantly harassed me. My reaction to this harassment was to study harder, for I was determined to overcome my obstacles and excel in everything that I did. I studied hard and graduated from my high school with a 3.9 GPA.
It was not until my freshman year of college when I found out about my immigration status. I asked my parents for my social security number when filling out my application for UCLA. There was a long pause. That day, I found out that, after eight years of going through the process, our family visa had expired because our sponsor had mismanaged our paperwork.
Unable to receive any state or federal financial aid due to my status, I work 20 hours a week tutoring high school students while maintaining a high GPA and leading the UCLA Marching Band as their Drum Major.
Mr. President, I feel like I'm living inside an invisible prison cell; these invisible bars block me from doing things, while my U.S. citizen friends can glide right through. I want to serve in the Air Force after graduation. I want to attend Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and I ultimately dream of becoming a U.S. Senator because I want to serve and change this country for the better. This is the American dream I want to achieve, but I am unable to fulfill it because of my status.
I have come out publicly on CNN and on C-SPAN. I'm taking a huge risk in doing so (because I could be deported) but I believe it is a greater risk to be silent in the face of oppression and injustice. This country is throwing away talents every minute, every second. You and I clearly know that our immigration system is broken, but the DREAM Act can bring thousands of students out of the shadows and allow them the opportunity to work for the country that they truly love, right now. It is more critical now, than ever.
I know you have shown your support for the DREAM Act, but I sincerely ask that you take some real action to make sure Congress passes it this year.
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. The letters are produced by Kyle de Beausset at Citizen Orange with the assistance of America's Voice. Every Monday and Wednesday DREAM-eligible youth will publish letters to the President, and each Friday there will be a DREAM Now recap.
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
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)
Tania Unzueta (2 August 2010)
Marlen Moreno (4 August 2010)
Weekly Recap - The Ghost of Virgil Goode Possesses the Republican Party (9 August 2010)