kyledeb: April 2010 Archives

In case you missed it, the Associated Press recently covered our request for a meeting with Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.).  We are asking Sen. Brown to meet with us before April 17.

Harvard College Act on a Dream has been trying to meet with Sen. Brown since he was first elected at the beginning of the semester.  We were told that his office was a mess the first couple of months, but we were finally asked to fax our meeting request to his office.  We sent the fax on March 5, 2010. 

After not getting a commitment to a meeting for over a month, we were forced to take our meeting request public.  We joined forces with the Student Immigrant Movement to set up an online petition which already has over 100 signatures (please sign it if you haven't done so, yet).  The online petition resulted in coverage from the AP, and now our request is all over the web.  We were happy to hear through the AP that his office has received our meeting request and will shortly ask for more information from us.

Still, it's going to take a lot more than an AP article and a hundred petition signatures to secure a meeting with Brown.  Here are some things you can do to help:

  1. SIGN the petition at change.org and ask all of your friends and family to do the same, especially if they are Massachusetts residents. 
  2. CALL Brown's D.C. office (202-224-4543) and his local office (617-565-3170) to ask whether or not Brown will meet with us before April 17.
  3. JOIN the Facebook group and ask your Facebook friends to do the same
  4. HELP us fight any misinformation or nativism that you see online regarding our meeting request.   



It's taken me much too long to do this.  Better late than never. 

People have been asking me for these stories ever since our coming out event at Harvard on March 10, 2010.  Through Harvard College Act on a Dream, we were able to secure permission to publish three of the anonymous stories we read, publicly.  Here are the links to the stories I just published on Citizen Orange:

  1. Anonymous Undocumented Harvard Student #1
  2. Anonymous Undocumented Harvard Student #2
  3. Anonymous Undocumented Harvard Student #3
To get a better sense of where these students are coming from, I recommend you read Elizabeth Pezza's excellent piece in the Harvard Crimson on living in the shadows at Harvard, which I reviewed here
This story was read on March 10, 2010, during our coming out event at Harvard.

Harvard, Class of 2009

Teachers, counselors, administrators, community members, and elected officials ... You, ALL OF YOU, LIED to me.
 
Every time you told me "hard work pays off," every time you said, "if you try your best, you can succeed," and every time you advised me, "believe in yourself and you can make all your dreams come true," you LIED to me.
This story was read on March 10, 2010, during our coming out event at Harvard.

Harvard, Class of 2009

Every great story begins with something about the self-evident human right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hope that one day my story will too, begin this way.

For now, all I have is a story about perseverance in the face of adversity; about patience through insurmountable frustrations; about a life full of hope, and about the dreams that someday will not only have to be just dreams.
This story was read on March 10, 2010, during our coming out event at Harvard

Harvard, Class of 2010

My parents met in the local pharmacy of a small town in El Salvador.  Four years later, I was born.  At the time, my older brother was a toddler.  It was also the same time that my father began his journey to the north - out of necessity - because he wanted a better life for out family. 

I don't remember seeing my dad more than a handful of times as I was growing up.  The cardboard silhouette of father and son I made in school for Fathers' Day always went undelivered. Despite this, there was always food on our table, payments for school, and toys on Christmas.
If you haven't read this article in the Harvard Crimson, yet, you should

When Elizabeth Pezza approached Harvard College Act on a Dream about writing a feature story on undocumented youth for the weekly Harvard Crimson magazine, Fifteen Minutes, my first reaction was that I hope it's better than the FM piece that was written about me:

"Altar, Mexico. That town is crazy," says Kyle De Beausset '08.

But De Beausset is not talking about the kind of Mexican crazy that happens when you mix margaritas in your mouth on the beach at 10 a.m.

Instead, he's referring to the last stop on his journey documenting the experience of South American migrant workers trying to make it to the United States.
Shifra Mincer - Harvard Crimson (3 May 2006)
For those that didn't catch it, Guatemala is not in South America.  I've actually never been to South America, I'm sorry to say, even though I was just a few months shy of being born in Ecuador.

It's not just inaccuracies I was worried about, though.  FM often tries to put a sort of "fun" tone into articles that I just didn't see working well with undocumented students at Harvard.  After multiple assurances from Pezza that she wouldn't use that tone, as well as the assurances of trusted pro-migrant students who knew her, I had faith that she would do a good job. 
In what I interpret to be a major shift in the politics of immigration reform Joe Baca (D-CA) recently co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

As I've mentioned multiple times, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) is one of the biggest barriers to passing the DREAM Act as a down payment on comprehensive immigration reform.  If members of the CHC who do not co-sponsor the DREAM Act are obstructionists, then Joe Baca has been a king obstructionist.  Not only did he refuse to co-sponsor the DREAM Act in the past, he introduced his own, worse version of the DREAM Act, the PROUD Act.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently told advocates the following about Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NY) holding up the DREAM Act in the Senate:

Anger has been brewing for months but what perhaps finally tipped the scale for most D.C. insiders and caused them to finally speak out in uncharacteristically vehement terms was a meeting many national advocates held with Senator Chuck Schumer the week prior.

[...]

The issue of the Dream Act or AgJobs proceeding alone in the event that Comprehensive Reform failed was...discussed. On this one Schumer punted to Senator Menendez. It is Menendez who insists on Comprehensive Reform in the Caucus according to Schumer so the advocates should be taking up that issue with him.
La Frontera Times (14 March 2010)
So when I came across Sen. Menendez saying this to the editorial board of the New Jersey Star-Ledger, it was the last straw:

I think the time to get [comprehensive immigration reform] done is in November, right after the elections. I'm being very pragmatic. I think there are a bunch of people who are retiring who would cast votes (because) their heart and their intellect tell them it is the right thing, but their politics might have told them no. They are free to cast votes that we might not normally get. I think it's a propitious time to get something done if we have presidential leadership. That's what I said to the president two weeks ago when I was at the White House with him.
Robert Menendez - New Jersey Star-Ledger (2 April 2010)

Menendez has been a tireless advocate for migrant rights in the Senate.  I'll never forget when he took to the Senate floor to deliver this speech

At the same time, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) have been one of the biggest barriers to passing the DREAM Act on it's own, because they want it to be part of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).  While most CHC members are in the House, Schumer confirmed above, much to my dismay, that Menendez is playing the same role in the Senate.