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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.
I was born in Nacozari, Mexico in 1984. My parents brought me to the United States when I was only 13 years old. We were searching for a better life and we found it in Tucson, Arizona. Despite being born in Mexico, I don’t consider myself Mexican. I have been living in this country for over thirteen years. The United States is my country and Arizona is my home.
My parents have always told me to value education. I remember them telling me that they came to the United States, “the country of opportunity,” so I could live a better life than they did. I never took their sacrifice for granted. In 2002, I became the first and only member of my family to graduate from high school. I was proud of my achievements but scared that I could not go any further. Because of my status, I was not able to continue with my education. My goal is to become a pre-school teacher, because I believe education is the key to success. I want to help children achieve their full potential from a young age, so they can continue to excel in every aspect of their lives.
Despite my goals of higher education, I was forced to put them aside and work as an assistant cleaning houses and a maid in a hotel. This was not what I wanted to do with my life, but I was thankful for any job I was able to get. For four years, I worked hard to support myself and help my family financially knowing that someday I would be able to live out the American Dream.
In 2007, my first son was born, Freddy Alan. Thanks to him, I came to know what it means to be a mother. I never knew I could be this happy or love someone as much as I love him. I went back to work soon after his birth because I wanted to provide him with everything he deserved.
On March 28, 2008, my son and I were awakened by a loud bang on our door. Before I could fully figure out what was happening, ten heavily armed deputies came into my house and arrested me because I am undocumented. I was taken to jail and held without bail.
I was detained for over four months, when I was finally released and allowed to reunite with my son once again. When I came home, after four and a half months, I realized how much I had missed. My son had turned one and he had learned how to walk while I was in jail. It pains me to know that I never saw his first crawl, the first time he sat up, learned to play, his first bites of real food, or when he took his first steps. But what pains me the most is the fact that he didn’t recognize me, his own mother, after I got out of jail. It still brings tears to my eyes knowing my own son didn’t know who I was. It took us months to come back together, like we had been before we were separated.
I try not to think about the way I was treated during this time. I had been treated like a criminal, as if I had robbed a bank when all I was doing was working to provide for my son and my family. It was not the same America I had grown up knowing.
In 2009, I met my husband and we married. He came into my life at a time when I needed him the most. He provided the support and love that I needed, and I will never forget that. In November of 2009, I had my second son, Leobardo Jr. My husband is a Lawful Permanent Resident and both of my sons are citizens. I am the only person in my family who is undocumented, but I still cannot legalize my status.
For the past year I have been fighting my deportation but now I am at the end of that fight and I am being told I must leave the United States by August 8th. I cannot think about being separated from my husband and my sons. I don’t want to think about going back to Mexico, a place I don’t consider my home.
I consider myself an American. This is where my husband and my children are and I don’t want to be separated from them. I want to continue living my life in this country and I want to contribute back. I am not a criminal. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter. I am a human being.
Please act to stop my deportation and to pass the DREAM Act now so that I can have a chance at a life in the only country I know as my home, later. I only have 3 days before I’m deported. This is what I need most urgently from you. Please:
- Sign the petition for asking for me to stay
- Send a fax to DHS to ask them to allow me to stay
- Call Janet Napolitano, Director of DHS at 202-282-8495 and leave a message in support of me. This is an answering machine that fills up by the end of the day, so please fill it up with support for me.
- Call John Morton, Director of ICE, at 202-732-3000 leave a message urging him to take action and defer my deportation. This is a live comment line that will be picked up by a real human being so please be very polite
For both calls you can say something along the lines of:
“I am calling to leave a message of support for Marlen Moreno (A#88-771-833) who is being deported on August 8th, I ask that Director Morton please step in to defer her deportation, she is an asset to this country. Thank you.”
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.
Approximately 65,000 undocumented youth graduate from U.S. high schools every year, who could benefit from passage of the DREAM Act. Many undocumented youth are brought to the United States before they can even remember much else, and some don’t even realize their undocumented status until they have to get a driver’s license, want to join the military, or apply to college. DREAM Act youth are American in every sense of the word — except on paper. It’s been nearly a decade since the DREAM Act was first introduced. If Congress does not act now, another generation of promising young graduates will be relegated to the shadows and blocked from giving back fully to our great nation.
This is what you can do right now to pass the DREAM Act:
- Sign the DREAM Act Petition
- Join the DREAM Act Facebook Cause
- Send a fax in support of the DREAM Act
- Call your Senator and ask them to pass the DREAM Act now.
- Email kyle at citizenorange dot com to get more involved
Below is a list of previous entries in the DREAM Now Series:
Mohammad Abdollahi (19 July 2010)
Yahaira Carrillo (21 July 2010)
Weekly Recap – Tell Harry Reid You Want the DREAM Act Now (23 July 2010)
Wendy (26 July 2010)
Matias Ramos (28 July 2010)
Weekly Recap – The CHC Has To Stand With Migrant Youth Not Against Us (30 July 2010)
Tania Unzueta (2 August 2010)