September 2010 Archives

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his intent last week to attach the DREAM Act to the defense authorization bill that would appropriate money to fund U.S. military operations. Democrats were not able to get 60 votes in support of beginning debate on the bill, so now the future of the DREAM Act is up in the air. The DREAM Act would provide permanent residence to undocumented youth brought to the U.S. as children who complete two years of college or military service.

After the vote, DREAMers immediately responded to their network of supporters: Call 202-224-3121 and ask Senator Reid to bring the DREAM Act to the Senate floor as a standalone bill.

One persistent feature of media coverage of the DREAM Act is the tendency to characterize the DREAM Act as "controversial" legislation: for example, here, here, and here.

But the editorial boards of those same media outlets have overwhelmingly supported passage of the DREAM Act, 14 out of 16 at last count. I have read op-eds by anti-immigrant politicians or advocates that took an anti-DREAM Act position. But I have seen only two opinion pieces from newspaper editorial boards that opposed the DREAM Act on the merits. And each of them mischaracterized some key element of the Act or of the debate.

Matias Ramos on twitter just signaled that the DREAM Act didn't move forward on what I believe was a vote of 56-43:
 

Reid has voted NO so that he can bring the bill back. Final vote came four votes short of cloture. #dreamactless than a minute ago via ÜberTwitter


The question is, what will Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) do next?  I will write more later.  Below is an email from Mohammad Abdollahi of dreamactivist.org:

At 3:00 pm today a  vote was taken on the Defense Authorization Bill, this is the bill that the DREAM Act would have been attached to.  This was a vote on whether or not to simply talk about the Defense Authorization Bill, which the DREAM Act would have been attached.  This vote did not go through, but this is NOT the end of the line.

Mayor Nutter.jpg

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter recently wrote to Pennsylvania Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey to ask them to vote for the DREAM Act. Both letters are linked at the bottom of this post. Here is the text of the mayor's letter to Senator Casey:

September 17, 2010

The Honorable Robert P. Casey
United States Senate
393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Casey,

I am writing to express my support of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (the DREAM Act), which, as you know, would provide immigrant youth who grew up in the United States the opportunity to legalize their status through education or military service. Passing the DREAM Act would bring hope to thousands of undocumented youth living in this country and ultimately strengthen our economy.

Every year, thousands of students graduate from high school in the United States and cannot obtain student loans and grants that would enable them to continue their education because they are undocumented residents. Many would like to go on to college, but cannot because of their status. Undocumented young adults are also prohibited from joining the military. They cannot get a valid driver's license. Many end up in low-wage, dead-end jobs.

I have set ambitious education attainment goals for the City of Philadelphia, knowing that a skilled workforce is necessary for the city's economic future. Philadelphia and the surrounding counties will not continue to thrive unless more of our residents go to college--including undocumented children who currently have no pathway to citizenship. The DREAM Act would benefit Philadelphia and the rest of Pennsylvania by providing young people with the tools needed to become citizens, go to college or enlist in the military and achieve the American dream. In the current economic situation, we cannot afford to have young people who want to attend college and or serve the nation they grew up in be barred from doing so.

I am encouraged by Senator Harry Reid's pledge this week to bring up the DREAM ACt as an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill and ask that you vote in favor of passage. Thousands of would-be college students and I will be forever grateful for your leadership.

Sincerely,

Michael Nutter
Mayor


Nutter Dream letter to Specter.pdf

Nutter Dream letter to Casey.pdf




The fate of almost a million lives could be decided in the next six hours.  As a voter, as a millenial, as a migrant, as a Guatemalan, I'm writing to say that I will be watching along with the vast majority of those who will determine the future of the United States of America. 

If you already haven't heard already, Harry Reid is going to offer the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act up as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.  The Senate is scheduled to vote on taking up the Act tomorrow at 2:15 p.m.  If you haven't called you're Senator yet in the support of the DREAM Act please do so now by calling:

888-254-5087

It is imperative that you focus on these Senators.  If you've called already, call again.  If you've called again, ask five friends to do the same.  If you've done all that, here are some more actions you can take.


Migrant youth are back in the U.S.'s paper of record as Julia Preston covers migrant youth demonstrations that are happening around the nation in favor of the DREAM Act.  Preston put a special emphasis on a demonstration in Miami, Florida, which has to be one of the coolest things migrant youth have done yet.    Reform Immigration For America has some of the pictures and above is a video.  
A leader in the movement to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, just tweeted this:

Our dreams and realities are inextricably linked. I support the #DreamAct because the American promise is for ALL.less than a minute ago via web


As I've written about before, the unity and solidarity between the migrant youth movement and the LGBT movement was forged longed before this week.  See also my co-blogger Dave's post on the dual protests of Harry Reid by Lt. Dan Choi and migrant youth leaders
Great to see migrant youth leaders at the fore of making this a reality.  Sombrero tip to The Sonia G.

It was blogged at midnight, here
I just received this in my inbox from DeeDee Blase the founder of Somos Republicans:

19 September 2010

The Honorable John McCain
241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

The Honorable Jon Kyl
730 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

United We Dream Statement

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I just received this from Matias Ramos at United We Dream:

DREAM Activists shift into high gear as vote approaches
Immigrants across America hopeful and active

Young people who would be eligible for the DREAM Act will be taking to the streets and demanding that the US Senate adds the DREAM Act to the Defense Reauthorization Bill.  The DREAM Act, which has stalled in Congress since 2001, would create a path to legal status for youth who grew up in this country, obtain a high school degree, and commit to getting a college education or serving in the military. At a time where immigrant communities have been affected by increased enforcement and deportations, the DREAM Act vote brings hope to many families in need of relief. Students in more than 15 cities will be organizing vigils outside of Senate offices.
Below is a press release from Conservatives for CIR:

Conservatives For CIR Support DREAM Act Youth
Let Them Pursue their American Dreams

Washington, DC -- Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the DREAM Act could be voted on as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. The DREAM Act is bipartisan legislation that enables high-achieving young people - immigrants who have been raised in the United States, have worked hard in school, and then pursue higher education or serve in the United States Armed Forces - to achieve the American Dream. Last week, CfCIR held meetings with member of Congress and the Obama administration, discussing their support for comprehensive immigration reform. Following is a statement from Juan Hernandez, founder of CfCIR, on the DREAM Act students:
AFL-CIO field staffer Will Fischer, a Marine Corps vetaran, explains how the DREAM Act would boost military recruitment in a blog post.

Below is a statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka On the DREAM Act
September 20, 2010

Now is the time to pass the DREAM act and give hope to our nation's youth. Every year, thousands of students graduate from high school and are barred from serving in the military or attending college - solely because of their immigration status. Despite their achievements and dreams, these graduating seniors' lives are paralyzed, and our country is deprived of their contributions.

Traveling Today And Tomorrow

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It comes at the worst possible time, I know, but I've been traveling today, and will be traveling tomorrow for Web of Change which Favianna Rodriguez of Presente.org has very graciously helped me get to.  I will also be attending with Juan Rodriguez of the Trail of DREAMs.  I only do so knowing that the movement is in good hands both on the ground and online, and also in hopes of making an impact with some online movers and shakers in this crucial time.  I just took a nap, will be writing and packing through the night, and will attend the vigil in front of Sen. Scott Brown's (R-MA) office for as many hours as I can before my plane leaves.  

Undocumented and Unafraid

As the discussion about the DREAM Act heats up in the Senate this week, news outlets around the country have expressed support for the Act. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children more than five years ago the chance to apply for legal status, provided they graduate from high school or obtain a GED and complete two years of college or military service.

I've not yet seen a newspaper editorial anywhere that has gone on record opposing the DREAM Act. [Update: now there are two.] This could be because people who take the time to become familiar with the Act well enough to write a column about it end up supporting it. Or it could be that those who oppose it don't want to mark their place in history on the wrong side of a landmark civil rights struggle.

Here are the expressions of support for the DREAM Act, if I've missed any, please let me know in comments.

Updates below [9/21/10 00:25 EST]:


Second update below [9/23/10 9:00 EST] - I've revised the list to include only newspaper editorials, not op-eds or other pieces not written by the editorial board of a news outlet:

In favor of the DREAM Act:


Arizona Republic

Chicago Tribune

Denver Post


Deseret News
- Utah

JDNews.com (Jacksonville, NC)

Los Angeles Times

Mercury News (San Jose, CA)

Newsday (Long Island, NY)

New York Daily News

New York Times

Ogden Standard-Examiner (Utah)

Philadelphia Inquirer

Saint Louis Today


San Francisco Chronicle

Opposed to the DREAM Act:

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Las Vegas Review-Journal

UPDATE (4:01 p.m.) - See this video from My Fox Phoenix of youth outside McCain's Office:



ORIGINAL POST:



See my earlier post on this.  I just received this press release:

Military Hopefuls Continue to Grow Outside McCain's Office
Undocumented youth asking to join military grow in numbers in Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona - Undocumented youth are now on their 4th day outside of Senator McCain's Phoenix office.  Michael, an undocumented aspiring serviceman, is leading a boot camp that has extended for four fays outside of the senator's office with a simple ask, "let me be a soldier."
Prerna Lal over at change.org has five actions you can take for the DREAM Act:

1. Drop in to visit Congressional members: If you are in the Washington D.C. area or can afford to come to D.C. to lobby Senators, now is the time to do so. There is no risk involved, even if you are undocumented. To date, no Senator or House representative or their various aides on Capitol Hill has ever looked at an undocumented student in the eye and actually said, "I don't think you deserve to live here." Here is a small guide on how to meet with your Senator or Representative.

2. Keep those calls coming - On Thursday, the immigrant youth network alone made close to 10,000 calls. They aimed for 15,000 on Friday. For some offices, pro-DREAM Act calls are finally matching and even beating the anti-immigrant calls against the legislation. Now is not the time to give up. If a third-grader can make calls, so can you. Here is a target list to get you started with instructions for what to say.

3. Email, email email - Don't underestimate the power of email petitions. At Change.org, we have stopped several deportations and directed thousands of emails to Congressional members and their aides for immigrant rights.

4. Join the grassroots actions - Immigrant youth are organizing in their own states to show their support for the DREAM Act. It shows solidarity while drawing media attention to the issue. You can see a list of actions here and even hold your own.

5. Fax - After making the calls and driving the emails, how about helping to jam some fax lines for the DREAM Act? Get on it here.

Prerna Lal - Change.org (19 September 2010)

This is also a good time to let folks know where they should be getting their immigration news and views.  Prerna Lal has always been a leader over at change.org and she's been joined recently by Alex DiBranco, who also does good work.
See his letter in the Arizona Republic:

Ever since I was a young boy watching Rambo, Commando and Van Damme fighting and taking no prisoners, I have wanted to join the military.

I thought serving my country would be like fighting our enemies in the films when Arnold Schwarzenegger would pick up two machine guns and start shooting all the bad guys.

The dream ended when I was 17. A Navy recruiter came to my high school, and I told him about my status. I told him that I was his next Navy SEAL (the best of the best).

He chuckled, and I did, too. I told him I didn't have a Social Security number and asked if that would be a problem. He answered yes.

I said, "Yes, I can join?" He said it would be a problem.

This week, the U.S. Senate will vote on the Dream Act. I urge Arizonans to support it.

I want to serve in our armed forces, I want to wear the uniform, I want to be a Navy SEAL.

- Jose Patino, Phoenix
A lot of the media analysis around a possible vote on the DREAM Act is centered around the fact that Democrats are doing this to shore up the Latino vote in time for the elections.  As I've written before, that's true but it's not the whole story.

There has been very little analysis, if any, on how the Republicans are playing politics with the DREAM Act.  In Oklahoma, the Republican Governors Association is using the Democrats move on the DREAM Act to try and open up a line of attack on Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, who is currently running for Oklahoma governor against Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK). 

The Oklahoman has more:

A move by Senate Democratic leaders to consider controversial immigration legislation as part of the annual defense bill has angered some Republicans but has given ammunition to a GOP  group targeting Lt. Gov. Jari Askins in the Oklahoma  gubernatorial race.

[...]

The Republican Governors Association launched an attack on Askins last week in regard to an Oklahoma law passed in 2003 that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public universities and apply for financial aid. The group ran an ad linking Askins' support for that bill to President Barack Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership.

If Reid's effort to add the immigration provisions to the defense bill is aimed at helping Democrats courting Hispanic voters, he didn't appear to do Askins, the Democratic nominee for governor, any favors.

After Reid announced his plan last week, the GOP group posted a video on YouTube, again linking Askins to national Democrats and showing a clip from an event in which Askins appears to say that she supports "an older version" of the DREAM Act.

"I'm sure Jari Askins is grateful that Harry Reid is moving forward with the DREAM Act even if it is tacked on to legislation that protects our national security," spokesman Chris Schrimpf said.
Chris Casteel - The Oklahoman (19 September 2010)

DeeDee Blase the founder of Somos Republicanos has written a letter to Harry Reid endorsing the DREAM Act

Dear Senator Reid:

I would like to thank you for bringing attention to the DREAM Act/Department of Defense amendment, specifically as it relates to tens of thousands of highly qualified young people who would be able to enlist into the Armed Forces if the DREAM Act becomes law.

Ivan Nikolov on the DREAM Act

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You might remember Ivan Nikolov from the letter he wrote for Citizen Orange, and from David Bennion's efforts to get him out of detention.  He has this to say in a video he just made:

According to a tweet from Marisa Treviño of Latina Lista, Colin Powell just delivered a ringing endorsement of the DREAM Act on Meet the Press.

Colin Powell is my new hero. Y? He delivers a stunning DREAM Act endorsement on Meet the Press. Also, y immigrants are important 2 U.S.less than a minute ago via web



UPDATE (11:23 a.m.) - Politico has more:

America is going to be a minority nation in one more generation.  Our minorities are not getting educated well enough now. Fifty percent of our minority kids are not finishing high school. We've got to invest in education. We should use the Dream Act as one way to do it. Whether it should be part of the Defense Bill or not, is something the Congress will decide.

So, I'm telling you and I'm telling all of my - my - my citizens around the country is that immigration is what's keeping this country's life blood moving forward.  They enrich our culture with every generation. And we have to find a way to protect our borders, but at the same time, treat our immigrant population with respect and dignity and give them a path to citizenship.
Colin Powell - Politico (19 September 2010)
UPDATE 2 (12:45 p.m.): Meet the Press has video of Colin Powell speaking out on the DREAM Act:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


UPDATE 3 (12:50 p.m.): The Hill also covered Colin Powell's remarks.
Here is more pressure on moderate Republicans.  Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mark Kirk (D-IL) has also refused to make a decision on the DREAM Act.  


You might remember David Cho from when he wrote a DREAM Now Letter for Citizen Orange

Alas, now he's moved onto bigger and better things.  Yesterday, he was featured in the Wall Street Journal.  He's got the lede and the last line in the article:

LOS ANGELES--David Cho, an honor student and leader of the UCLA marching band, plans to join the U.S. Air Force after he graduates in the spring--if Congress lets him.

Mr. Cho is among the potential beneficiaries of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors bill--informally known as the Dream Act--that would give some illegal immigrants a shot at becoming U.S. citizens.

[...]

Currently, students like Mr. Cho come of age in the U.S. without the right to legally work, join the military or receive federal loans for education. Most of these children had no say in their families' decision to settle illegally in the U.S. Generally, they have not been targeted for deportation, unless they have criminal records.


Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) is starting to feel the heat of pro-migrant voters, specifically Latino voters. Tonight, Univision will air a debate in which current Florida governor and U.S. Senate nominee Charlie Crist will come out in support of the DREAM Act.  The day before yesterday, Representive Kendrick Meek (D-FL), and also a nominee for U.S. Senate, hand delivered a letter to LeMieux.  This part of Meek's letter says it all:


The nativist noise machine is gearing up for a vote on the DREAM Act after Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he would introduce it as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act as early as next week.
This letter was referenced in this Roll Call article:

Pressure Mounts on LeMieux to Support DREAM Act

Immigration reform advocates have been honing in on Sen. George LeMieux as a potential ally in their campaign to pass the DREAM Act, and now the Florida Republican is facing added pressure from a lawmaker from his home state.

Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) hand-delivered a letter to LeMieux on Thursday urging his support for the DREAM Act, which provides a pathway to citizenship for children in the country illegally if they serve in the military or go to college. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Tuesday that he plans to attach the measure to the defense authorization bill, which he hopes to bring to the floor next week.
Jennifer Bendery - Roll Call (16 September 2010)
Below I will quickly type out the letter (please excuse and typos) and I will also upload it (pdf):
laura pic.jpgThe "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, and ended on Wednesday, September 15, with the full support of Barack Obama. 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 Congress to step up and pass the DREAM Act!

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Laura López and I am an undocumented resident of Napa, California. My parents brought me in 1989 to provide for me the American Dream. I was a year and eight months old. The plan was that they'd work and I'd study and go to college. Our hard work was supposed to merit us the American Dream. But my merit would be questioned for a lack of legal documentation.
I just made up this twitter petition:

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza both went on Keith Olbermann last night and made an excellent case for why we need to pass the DREAM Act now.  

http://www.citizenorange.com/orange/2010/09/luis-gutierrez-speaks-on-keith.html
http://www.citizenorange.com/orange/2010/09/clarissa-martinez-of-nclr-on-o.html

But why not also let the youth speak for themselves?

Ask Keith Olbermann if he'll have migrant youth leaders like the authors of these letters (http://www.citizenorange.com/orange/dream-now-letters/) on his show as the DREAM Act comes up for a vote.

Kyle de Beausset - Act.ly (17 September 2010)


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I'll write more later, but in the meantime I thought I'd highlight a few quotes from Julia Preston at the New York Times on the migrant youth movement:

Senator Reid's announcement fell like a lightning bolt on immigrant student groups across the country, which have been in high gear all year demanding that the Democrats move separately on the bill tailored to benefit them, known by its supporters as the Dream Act. In the first major test of their ability to mobilize, on Thursday they began a campaign of protests across the country and telephone calls to lawmakers.

[...]

The first showdown on the student bill will come in a procedural vote on Tuesday. Whatever the outcome, the Democrats have seen some political gain. The effort brought new unity for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the immigrants' rights movement and leaders of the immigrant students, who have not always agreed on whether to push for the student bill as a separate measure.

The vote gives the student movement a chance to show its muscle. Unlike other illegal immigrants, the students have become increasingly willing to protest publicly despite the risks.

"Our people will remember in November," said Carlos Saavedra, a Latino leader of the immigrant student movement. "They will be ready to reward or to punish."
Julia Preston - New York Times (16 September 2010)
All eyes are on the migrant youth movement.  History is being written as I write these words, and victory is the only outcome because we are on the side of justice. 
I hope this is one of the last times Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has to make one of these DREAM Act speeches:

A statement from Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) on Senator John McCain (D-AZ) threats to block the DREAM Act:

Any American so courageous and patriotic that he or she wants to serve our country in the military should be able to do so. Senator McCain and anyone else who thinks the DREAM Act is not directly related to our national security should talk to the brave young men and women who want to defend our country but are turned away. And he should also talk to our military leaders in the Defense Department who have said that America's military readiness depends on recruiting as many well-qualified men and women as possible. The Defense Department's strategic plan explicitly states that passage of the DREAM Act is critical to helping the military 'shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.' And many of our generals in the field believe that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' harms troop morale and combat readiness.

Senator McCain should know better than anyone that patriots who step up to serve our grateful nation should be offered a path to citizenship, and that anyone who volunteers to serve should be welcomed regardless of their sexual orientation. I hope that he will do the right thing and support this bill that not only funds critical support for our troops like weapons upgrades and pay raises, but also ensures that our military reflects our nation's values.
Harry Reid (16 September 2010)


UPDATE 2: Here's video of Obama's speech:



UPDATE: Below I will paste the full remarks of President Obama at the CHC Gala tonight.  The part relevant to the DREAM Act is here:

And the Senate's going to have a chance to do the right thing over the next few weeks when Senator Reid brings the DREAM Act to the floor.  In the past, this was a bill that was supported by a majority of Democrats and Republicans.  There's no reason it shouldn't be again.  I've been a supporter since I was in the Senate, and I will do whatever it takes to support the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' efforts to pass this bill so that I can sign it into law on behalf of students seeking a college education and those who wish to serve in our country's uniform.

But look - to make real progress on these or any issues, we've got to break the Republican leadership's blockade.  Let's be clear about this. Without the kind of bipartisan effort we had just a few short years ago, we can't get these reforms across the finish line. But their leadership has made reaching 60 votes the norm for nearly everything the Senate has to do.  And the American people's business is on hold because, simply put, the other party's platform has been "no."
Barack Obama (15 September 2010)


If you haven't been on facebook, twitter, or following the news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced yesterday that he would be introducing the DREAM Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.  Univision anchor Jorge Ramos tweeted last week that Reid wanted to move the DREAM Act before November.  Now we know how Reid wants to move it.  The DREAM Act could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday of next week.


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,

I am a member of the first graduating class of Felix Varela Senior High which is located in Miami, Florida. I had attended school with my native-born friends. Like them, I participated in activities, field trips, dances, and felt the pain of losing a classmate.
Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is reporting through twitter that a spokesman has said "Senator Harry Reid wants to bring the DREAM Act to the Senate floor before November."

Important: Senator Harry Reid wants to bring the Dream Act to the Senate floor before November, his spokesperson told me.less than a minute ago via web


The Senate goes back into session on Monday, September 13.  By my amateur estimations we will have a month at most to move the DREAM Act, in the Senate.   

Election day 2010 is on Nov. 2, this year, and the closer we get to elections, the less of a chance the Senate will take on anything "controversial." 

There has been rumblings of Sen. Reid wanting to move the DREAM Act for sometime, now, but this report from Jorge Ramos substantiates those rumblings at just the time we need to build the momentum for our final push. 

I think this is our last chance to pass the DREAM Act or any meaningful immigration reform at the federal level for at least the next two years.  If you've got any gas left in the tank to push for this, now is the time to use it. 
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 President Obama,

My name is Chih Tsung Kao.  I am 24 years old and am now currently living in Taipei, Taiwan awaiting military service.  This is not what I had planned for my life as I entered high school, but it was drastically altered when I found out that I was undocumented at 17.


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!

[Editor's Note from Kyle de Beausset: I'm publishing this letter in Spanish without translation in compliance with the wishes of Matias Ramos.  For the nativists who bristle in the proximity of anything that isn't in English I say: This is America!  Learn more than one language!]

Estimado Presidente:

Lo saludo con respeto y admiración, pero también con una queja y un pedido.

En Abril del 2010, empaqué mi ropa en dos bolsos y deje a mi familia y amigos en California para trabajar tiempo completo en el DREAM Act, un proyecto de ley que usted conoce bien y por el cual he esperado por muchos años. En ese entonces no tenía donde vivir, pero un amigo me presto su sillón por varios meses hasta que pude rentar una habitación. Washington es muy diferente a Los Angeles, en la cultura y el ritmo de la vida cotidiana. La adaptación fue dificultosa, pero recibí mucho apoyo desde todas partes del país de parte de muchas personas que comparten el mismo sueño que yo: ser ciudadanos legales de los Estados Unidos de América.


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 Saad Nabeel and I am writing to you from Bangladesh. Prior to my arrival in this nation, I lived in the United States for 15 years. My parents brought me to America at age three. It is the only home I know. I used to attend the University of Texas at Arlington with a full scholarship in Electrical Engineering. Through no fault of my own I was forced to leave my home, friends, possessions, and most importantly, my education behind.

November 3rd 2009 is a day I will never forget. My mother called me and told me that my father had been detained by ICE and that we needed to leave immediately to Canada to seek refugee status. Being an only child, I had to take care of my mother and go with her.
America's Voice sent out an action alert celebrating our victory with Ivan Nikolov and asking folks to do the same for Selvin ArevaloSending a fax, and asking your friends to do the same, is probably the single most important thing you can do for Selvin.  It will also do a lot for the DREAM Act as the faxes will go to two key Senate votes, Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.   

I'm so glad to share some more good news with you: After spending three months in jail facing deportation, Ivan Nikolov was released last week!

Now, Ivan's safe at home with his fiancée and stepdad, and it's all thanks to your help. Together, we sent nearly 15,000 faxes to the Department of Homeland Security and ICE, and another 2,800 faxes to Ivan's Congressional representatives in Michigan, sharing his story and urging his release. Our persistence paid off, and Ivan is back home with his loved ones in Michigan.

Now, another young man -- Selvin Arevalo -- urgently needs our help.

We've seen just how successful these campaigns can be. We helped save Ivan Nikolov in Michigan and Marlen Moreno in Arizona. Now Selvin Arevalo needs our help. Send a fax now to stop Selvin's deportation!

http://AmericasVoiceOnline.org/Selvin
The call for Selvin Arevalo on Tuesday went better than I could have imagined.  Below is the audio followed by two press releases, one in English and one in Spanish:



Leaders from the Religious, Child Advocacy, and Immigrant Communities Urge ME Senators to Intervene in Deportation of Selvin Arevalo

Call for Federal Action on DREAM Act this September as a Step toward Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Portland, ME - Immigrant and child advocates joined religious leaders from Maine on a call today to press Congress to pass the DREAM Act in September and to urge Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) to intervene in the deportation case of Selvin Arevalo, an American student who may soon be deported to Guatemala.  Selvin's story is the most recent of thousands across the U.S. highlighting the need for federal action.

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