Earlier this week a dozen DREAM Activists dressed in caps and gowns and engaged in protest were arrested on Capitol Hill. All have since been released from custody. In recent weeks, those who advocate for the DREAM Act have been ramping up their advocacy with more organizing in Washington, D.C., including a sixties styled teach in called “DREAM University” to raise awareness for the cause.
Along with that undocumented young adults are launching a DREAM Letters campaign addressed to Barack Obama. This social media campaign is inspired by a similar effort that the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network implemented for the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. This is the second letter in the series (the first letter was published on Monday):
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, D.C. 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.
I was born in 1985 to a barely-turned 16 year-old who had been kicked out of her house while she was pregnant for being a disgrace to the family. I lived with my mother in an abandoned house in Guerrero, Mexico. She struggled to find work, but was either harassed or asked for sexual favors. She said no. She was 17 in 1986 when the 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico. She decided to take me to the U.S., but we didn’t stay that long. At my grandmother’s request, we returned to Mexico. The hits kept coming: my mother ended an abusive relationship with a military man and feared for her life.
Then, my father called- after abandoning my mother while she was pregnant and being MIA for most of my early years, decided he wanted us to join him in California. My options have always been limited. I was 8 years old when I came to the U.S. When I was 14, my 18-year-old boyfriend wanted to marry me. I said no. When I graduated from the top of my high school class, I thought I couldn’t go anywhere. My parents were migrant farm workers- college wasn’t likely. But years later, I found a private college in Kansas that would accept me. I worked myself to the bone, and obtained an Associate’s Degree. Today, I am working towards my Bachelor’s degree. According to my calculations, it will take me eight years.
I’ve had people tell me that it’s not a big deal, that I should keep on waiting for the DREAM Act to pass. My life has been on pause, rewind or replay for years. Waiting is not an option. That is why undocumented youth like myself are risking everything, right now, to pass the DREAM Act, this year. If we’re putting our lives on the line for this, Mr. President, the least you can do is call members of Congress and ask them to do the same.
It started with 3 undocumented youth sitting in John McCain’s office, and it has escalated to 20. How many more will it take before Congress passes the DREAM Act?