kyledeb: July 2010 Archives

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!

Today marks the completion of the second week of the DREAM Now series. I am sorry I was not able to get a letter out on Wednesday.  Too much travel and not enough sleep led me to come down with a soar throat and a fever on Tuesday.  Thankfully, I'm starting to recover, today.  If you're not getting enough of your DREAM Now fix I recommend reading Matias Ramos' post on why he stood up during Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) speech at Netroots Nation.

Thanks in part to the supporters of the DREAM Now Series,  Reid is now on board with pushing DREAM Act this year.  Most of the credit for turning Reid, of course, should go to courageous undocumented youth activists for their civil disobedience in Reid's office and making their presence known during his appearance at Netroots Nation.  While Reid still needs to be pushed, most of our efforts to get the DREAM Act enacted, this year, should now shift towards securing the last few mostly Republican Senate votes we need.  The National Council of La Raza has a list of Senators who have not yet publicly committed to voting for the DREAM Act.  If your Senator is on that list, you better start getting to work. 
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 Wendy and I am a daughter, a friend, a student, and, most importantly, a dreamer. I came to this country in 1999 from Peru when I was seven years old, accompanied by my mother, father, and sister. Getting on the plane, I did not know that words like "undocumented" and "dreams" would play such a major role in my young adult life. Growing up in New York, I began to embrace the United States and the feeling of being an American; I learned to balance this country's traditions with my own without difficulty. I came to notice that the people around me, regardless of their different ethnic backgrounds and customs, were not so different from me after all.
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!

This post will mark the completion of the first week of the DREAM Now Letters.  This social media campaign has been an immediate success, which is in large part due to the historic actions of DREAMers this week

Major bloggers from across the net, which I will link to below, have already cross-posted both Mohammad Abdollahi's and Yahaira Carrillo's stories.  The letters even made a brief appearance on memeorandum, a news aggregator that I'm addicted to.
In what I believe will go down as one of the most courageous acts in U.S. history, 21 unauthorized migrant youth were arrested on Tuesday after peaceful sit-ins to deliver one simple message to Congress: Pass the DREAM act now!  They were scolded immediately by a spokesperson from Sen. Dick Durbin's (D-IL) office:

Reached for comment following the arrests, a Durbin spokesman said, "Today's demonstrations by some DREAM Act supporters ... crossed the line from passionate advocacy to inappropriate behavior. The tide of public opinion has long been on the side of the DREAM Act -- it has broad bipartisan support in Congress, and poll after poll shows that people of all political persuasion believe in its goals. Sen. Durbin believes that we will win this fight on the merits, not through public demonstrations or publicity stunts."
Christina Wilkie - The Hill (20 July 2010)

Reading that sort of reaction you would think that unauthorized migrant youth did something violent.  But all they did was exposed the violence of the U.S. government whose reigns are almost entirely in Democrat hands, right now.  That's the only reason such a harsh and immediate statement was delivered by Durbin, a member of the Democrat leadership.  The photos of police arresting promising young students for the simple act of existence will forever be a reminder of the shame of the schizophrenic American DREAM.  This is the truth that undocumented youth were exposing on Tuesday.   


I'm in Las Vegas, today, for Netroots Nation 2010.  It's my third time in this city, my first time over 21.  Las Vegas is a plastic city, at least where all the resorts are.  Everything is designed to get you to spend money.  I had to drop $20 for wireless just to write this, and I haven't even gambled yet! 

I'm here to put on a panel entitled "'Illegal' Organizing: Lessons from the Migrant Youth Movement."  The description is as follows:


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.


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!

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.

President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC  20500

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Mohammad Abdollahi and I am an undocumented immigrant.  Two months ago I made history.   


Despite Obama's nativist rhetoric, and the failure of the Obama administration's to include Latino and/or pro-migrant bloggers in the following roundtable, I was happy to have come across this from Cecilia Muñoz, the White House's Director of Intergovernmental Affairs:



Jesse Lee: And we've got a bit of a graffiti artist in the chat asking over and over again, why not the DREAM Act as a stand-alone bill?

Cecilia Muñoz: So the DREAM Act, which I described before, is terribly important.  The President absolutely supports it.  And if Congress, if our allies in Congress decide to move forward on the DREAM Act, we will be - we will happily support it.  The President has been a supporter really for much of his career. 

So that, if it moves forward, that progress is progress, it has the same 60-vote threshold as anything else that moves in the United States Senate, and that's the challenge.  In order to pass the DREAM Act or a comprehensive reform or anything else, we're going to need to get the 60 votes, and some of those votes are going to have to be from Republicans.  And so in order to accomplish any piece of this debate, we're going to need that support. 
White House (1 July 2010)
The Obama administration certainly hasn't spent any political capital on getting the DREAM Act passed, but at least they aren't publicly blocking it from happening.


During the 2008 Presidential campaign Barack Obama promised us he would make comprehensive immigration reform a "top priority" in his first year as President:

Well, I don't know about you, but I think it's time for a President who won't walk away from something as important as comprehensive reform when it becomes politically unpopular.  And that's the commitment I'm making to you.  I marched with you in the streets of Chicago.  I fought with you in the Senate for comprehensive immigration reform.  And I will make it a top priority in my first year as President.  Not just because we need to secure our borders and get control of who comes into our country.  And not just because we have to crack down on employers abusing undocumented immigrants.  But because we have to finally bring those 12 million people out of the shadows. 
Barack Obama - Citizen Orange (13 July 2008)
After hearing promises like that, pro-migrant voters, specifically Latino voters, turned out for Obama in record numbers and helped get him elected. 

It's been two years since Obama made those promises to us.  Not only has policy failed to change under the Obama administration, but the war on migrants has actually gotten worse.  Barack Obama promised to make immigration a "top priority" in his first year as President.  Now, a year and a half into his Presidency, all we have is a speech.