Monday, August 16, 2010

DREAM Now Letters to Barack Obama: Yves Gomes

crossposted from Citizen Orange
By kyledeb on August 16, 2010 3:20 PM

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.
I spent the last year restlessly awaiting my unknown future. But today, thanks to the work of my lawyer, Mrs. Cynthia Groomes Katz, the help of the media (e.g. Ms. Andrea McCarren of WUSA9 TV) Organizations such as the We Are America project of the Center for Community Change and my family and friends, I was able to get Deferred Action after subsequent to Stays of Removal, and now I am ecstatic because I can stay in the United States.

I came to this country from India with my mom on tourist visas when I was barely more than a year old. I was born in India but I have never been back to visit nor do I remember anything about the life there. As far as I can remember, my earliest memories came in America and I consider myself American. I grew up all my life here, completing my grade school education and assimilating into the American culture, which is so rich and diverse. My parents always told me to be grateful and realize how great the opportunities are in America, which is a sharp contrast of the life they described in the less developed countries where they came from, India and Bangladesh. My parents were deported back to their home countries last year. But with their words in mind, I continued to pursue my childhood goal to finish high school and get a scholarship into a college. I did achieve my goal, but it was devastating to see it escape me as I could not accept any of the college offers because of my status and my looming deportation.

All that changed today when I was granted a deferral, and with the deportation now on hold I can continue my life here in the US. Over the last few months fighting my deportation I learned that there are other young adults in the US who have received the same deferral of removal I received, but also that there are thousands of other students out there who are in similar and worse situations than mine and who don't have as many resources to receive help. I learned that the reason I was able to get an extension and keep my dream alive is because of the countless efforts made by my family, friends, attorney, community, organizations, and the willingness of the US government to comply with the efforts. This illustrates how the US is different from any other country in the world, because the government is willing to listen to its people when something is wrong.

Mr. President, it is clearly wrong that there continue to be so many promising young adults who are prevented from achieving their full potential simply because they don't have the right papers, trumping a bright, ambitious mind. To correct this wrong we need to pass the DREAM ACT.


Yves Gomes

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. The letters are produced by Kyle de Beausset at Citizen Orange with the assistance of America's Voice. Every Monday and Wednesday DREAM-eligible youth will publish letters to the President, and each Friday there will be a DREAM Now recap.

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:

1. Sign the DREAM Act Petition
2. Join the DREAM Act Facebook Cause
3. Send a fax in support of the DREAM Act
4. Call your Senator and ask them to pass the DREAM Act now.
5. Email kyle at citizenorange dot com to get more involved

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