kyledeb: August 2010 Archives

Opportunity for DREAM Act Could Make the Difference for Mainer

Advocates Ask Senators Snowe and Collins to Support Passage this September, Intervene in Arevalo Case

Portland, ME - Today, August 31st at 2:30 pm ET, immigrant advocates and community leaders will 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, and to press their colleagues in the Senate to pass the DREAM Act this September.


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 Lizbeth Mateo and I am undocumented. On May 17th, on the 56th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, I, along with Mohammad Abdollahi, Yahaira Carrillo and two others, became the first undocumented students to risk deportation by staging a sit-in inside Senator McCain's office in Tucson, Arizona, to demand the immediate passage of the DREAM Act. As a result of that sit-in we were arrested, turned over to ICE, and we now face deportation.
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,

On July 20th, 2010 I was arrested in the office of Senator John McCain fighting for the DREAM Act.

I am one of the thousands of students who would qualify for this legislation. I was brought to the United States at the age of four and have been here ever since. I consider myself to be a good student and I always strive to be a good example for others. I have been waiting for the DREAM Act to pass since it was first introduced in 2001, and this year I decided that I couldn't stand by and wait another year. I decided to fight for my DREAMs.


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 Carlos and I'm a 23 year old undocumented immigrant from Caracas, Venezuela.  I want to legalize my immigration status in this country through the passage of DREAM Act this year.  For too long have I lived in the U.S. without papers.  It has been over 20 years, now.  I want to legalize my immigration status in order to fulfill my dreams of becoming a young professional in architecture.
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!

It's been one month since the DREAM Now Series started, and it's been far more successful than I had ever imagined.  DREAM Now Letters have been cross-posted and mentioned by a wide selection of bloggers.  Those blog posts, in turn, have been viewed, shared and retweeted tens of thousands of times.


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!

[Note from Kyle de Beausset: Selvin wrote this letter right before he got into a minor car accident on April 9, 2010.  He was set to get his high school diploma in June but has been in detention ever since.  I have chosen reproduce Selvin's letter as I found it in his empty room, rather than polish his slight grammatical errors, to allow his character to shine through.]

Dear President Barack Obama,

From the bottom of my heart, I plead to my God that you and your entire family receive blessings from the highest God while you are reading this letter.  I admire and thank you for the great labor that you are fulfilling as a president in this big nation.  My name is Selvin Ovidio Arevalo.  I came to this country when I was 15 years old.  I came from Guatemala to this country to fulfill my dreams because I always have believed that this is a country of many opportunities for those whom want to succeed.


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 Yves Gomes. I am 17 years old and I just graduated from Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville, MD this June. Under the grace of God I was able to do well in my studies all my life and I graduated in the top 5% of my class and got into University of Maryland College Park and a handful of other colleges. However until today I had an order for deportation from this country on August 13, 2010, a few days from now. 
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,

In May, my mother and I were picked up in an immigration raid in our home. I was told that in 2002, when I was just 12, I missed a court date at which I was ordered removed from this country. I've been in detention for three months, now, awaiting my deportation.  My mother was deported on Friday, August 6th, and I'm set to be deported any day now.
Sandhya Somashekhar authored an article in the Washington Post on the failing push by Republican leadership to revise the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which grants citizenship to all human beings that are born on U.S. soil. 

Towards the end of an article is a nonsenical paragraph from Somashekhar that plays on the fears of nativists that unauthorized migrants are somehow purposely having babies in the U.S. to benefit themselves. 

More troubling to some is that illegal immigrants often further root themselves in U.S. society by having American children, their plight often winning the sympathy of the public. In one widely publicized case in 2007, a Mexican woman barricaded herself and her 8-year-old son, who was a U.S. citizen, inside a Chicago church in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid deportation.
Sandhya Somashekhar - Washington Post (8 August 2010)
Somashekhar contradicts herself in her own paragraph, here.  She appeals to an anonymous "some" here to suggest that unauthorized migrants are rooting themselves in U.S. society through having "American children" and then cites the case of Elvira Arellano who was deported away to Mexico despite having a U.S. citizen child.  How could Arellano have further "rooted" herself in the U.S. through a child when she was deported?

It's just a small paragraph at the end of an article but it nonetheless legitimizes false fears that unauthorized migrants are coming to the U.S. specifically to have babies in order to benefit themselves.  Anyone who is intellectually honest knows that this is not true.


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.
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!

A lot has happened as we complete the third week of the DREAM Now Series.  The DREAM Act picked up two new co-sponsors in the U.S. House: Mike Thompson (D-CA-1) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1).  Two extremely important and influential organizations have also come out strongly in support of passing the DREAM Act as a downpayment on comprehensive immigration reform: the Center for American Progress and the AFL-CIO.  Finally, a major victory was won in Arizona where the deportation of Marlen Moreno was deferred.  Please express support for the above in anyway possible.  It has all helped build a lot of momentum for passing the DREAM Act, this year. 

Just was we have been busy moving the DREAM Act forward, though, nativists have been busy undermining it.
This week, thanks largely to the efforts of Rev. Christopher Hope, the Cambridge City Council unanimously passed a resolution in favor of the DREAM Act.  The Cambridge Chronicle has a little bit more:

The Cambridge City Council passed a resolution Monday night supporting the DREAM Act, legislation that would allow undocumented youth a path to citizenship on the condition they complete a college degree or two years in the military.

Immigrant Renata Teodoro, 22, who moved to this country from Brazil 17 years ago, told the Council her family had been deported, and she works to pay her own way through school.

"Civil rights are as relevant right now as they were 40 years ago," said Christopher Hope, a member of the Pentecostal Tabernacle and a member of the Cambridge Human Rights Commission, who is helping local immigrants who are part of his congregation. "Civil rights is an unfinished project."
Jen Thomas - Cambridge Chronicle (3 August 2010)
Despite the lack of mainstream media coverage on this resolution, Michael DaSilva of the Bean Media was there, thankfully, to record some of the speeches that were given in support of the DREAM Act, including a rushed speech by yours truly.  The best speech, by far, was delivered by Christopher Hope



I feel very strongly that he should become a national spokesperson for the DREAM Act.   
The good folks over at dreamactivist.org are reporting that Marlen Moreno's deportation was deferred:

She was scheduled to be deported on August 8th, but after a campaign initiated by DREAM Act activists, hundreds of phone calls, over 6,000 faxes, and a sign-on letter supported by over 50 national and local organizations, she was given the opportunity to stay in the country for another year.
Mohammed Abdollahi - Dreamactivist.org (6 August 2010)
Mo also rightly states the following in an email to supporters of Marlen:

This victory shows us that we can win any case anywhere, but it also reminds us that we cannot keep fighting one case at a time, we have to get one big victory for all of us and that comes via passing the DREAM Act.
Mohammed Abdollahi (6 August 2010)
Stopping Marlen's deportation was a huge victory, but we still need to pass the DREAM Act in order for that victory to be complete.  As many mainstream media organizations often fail to report in these cases, deferring someone's deportation does not guarantee them any sort of permanent legal status. 
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) just delivered a stirring floor speech in favor of the DREAM Act that could be a precursor to an escalation for the legislation in the next few months.  I will reproduce the entire speech below:
This actually happened before the AFL-CIO came out in support of moving the DREAM Act on its own this year, and might have had something to do with them doing so. 
In what can only be described as a momentous news for the migrant youth movement, the executive council of the AFL-CIO just came out in support of moving the DREAM Act on its own, this year.

The AFL-CIO has really become a fierce pro-migrant leader in the last few years.  This is best exemplified by an incredible pro-migrant speech which was recently delivered by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

The AFL-CIO has aligned itself with the migrant youth movement in asking that the DREAM Act be passed now in the wake of the inability of comprehensive immigration reform to pass this year.  That it did so is huge.  It also puts the AFL-CIO at odds with some of the more entrenched pro-migrant interests that have so far refused to rethink their failing strategies. 
Randy Parraz is currently seeking the Democrat nomination for U.S. Senator in Arizona.  In May, Parraz also was the only candidate outside John McCain's office in Tuscon supporting the historic civil disobedience of the DREAM Act 5.

I'm happy to see he's still taking leading role in supporting migrant youth in Arizona when we need him through the following statement in support of Marlen Moreno:
I just received this letter from Luis Gutierrez on stopping the deportation of Marlen Moreno:

Dear Friend:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the plight of Marlen Moreno, a mother of two U.S. citizen children who is facing possible deportation this weekend.  I am inspired by your passionate advocacy and your plea to help a young woman in dire need.  Your emails arrived while I was attending a conference in Nevada calling for an end to deportations and the separation of families.  Based on that gathering alone, I can assure you that a growing number of Americans agree with you in your assessment of the struggles facing millions of people like Marlen.


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 Marlen Moreno and I am undocumented. I am also a possible beneficiary of the DREAM Act.  On Sunday, August 8, I will be deported.


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 Tania Unzueta and I'm undocumented.

I have lived in Chicago since I was 10 years old. I came with my mother to join my father, who had found a stable job and a promise to legalize his status. Eventually our tourist visas ran out, and my family became undocumented.
Unfortunately, we live in a country where the person who wrote this letter can not put his or her name to these words without fear of repercussion, but these words could easily come from many of the undocumented parents and family members I've met who would rather give youth a chance at legal status this year than no one at all.

I support the DREAM Act. I am an immigrant and a parent. I have lived in this country for almost 30 years.  I will not personally benefit from the passage of the DREAM Act, and neither will my two American-born children. I support the DREAM Act because I believe strongly that it benefits our entire community. I use the term "community" in its fullest sense: our American community, our community of immigrants and the descendents of immigrants, our families and our friends.  We all know that we will be enriched morally, economically, and socially by bringing young immigrants out of the shadows now and allowing them to fully participate in the American life that is already the only life they know.