LatinaLista -- For the past month, letters to President Obama written by DREAM Act students have been posted to Latina Lista. It's part of an ongoing campaign to get Congress to pass the DREAM Act.
Well, yesterday two things happened that could either be chalked up to coincidence or divine intervention: In the morning, I received an email from a DREAM Act student who had been deported with his family to Bangladesh.
His name is Saad Nabeel. I had written about his case when I first heard about it in my local media because Saad was from the North Texas area. Like the other students, Saad's case is heartbreaking, especially since he truly is a stranger to Bangladesh not growing up speaking the language and having been thrust from a middle-class upbringing into unfamiliar third world conditions.
Saad wanted to know if I would publish his letter. I told him that I hold all DREAM Act letters for Friday publication so that they stay up longer over the weekend and that I would most definitely publish his letter this Friday.
Not two hours after I received Saad's email, I received a call from a source in Washington who had asked me if I had heard the announcement made by Sen. Reid. I replied that I had but what my source continued to tell me was that the vote for the DREAM Act is coming up next Tuesday which leaves only seven days to get Republican congressmen to vote for it.
With such a small window of opportunity to pass the DREAM Act and to help all the students who are here, have been deported or are up for deportation, Latina Lista will publish a letter every day by these students from the "DREAM Now" letter series till the bill comes up for a vote next week.
If the DREAM Act bill doesn't pass next week, there is very little hope that it will come up again in the foreseeable future.
The following letter is from Saad who desperately wants to return to the United States.
Dear Mr. President,
My name is Saad Nabeel and I am writing to you from Bangladesh. Prior to my arrival in this nation, I lived in the United States for 15 years. My parents brought me to America at age three. It is the only home I know. I used to attend the University of Texas at Arlington with a full scholarship in Electrical Engineering. Through no fault of my own I was forced to leave my home, friends, possessions, and most importantly, my education behind.
November 3rd 2009 is a day I will never forget. My mother called me and told me that my father had been detained by ICE and that we needed to leave immediately to Canada to seek refugee status. Being an only child, I had to take care of my mother and go with her.
My mother and I were denied entrance into Canada and sent back to the USA as if we were common criminals. I was separated from my mother and sent to a detention facility where I was forced to live with 60 men, many of whom were hardened criminals.
There was no privacy and I was forced to use the facilities and showers while fully exposed. I lived in constant fear of being abused. I was without food for upwards of 14 hours a day and received little to no medical attention. When I asked for legal counsel I was threatened with criminal charges and jail time in a Federal Penitentiary.
To this day I still have nightmares about being detained. Everything my parents taught me about human decency was replaced with humiliation.
Mr. President, I hope you are as outraged as I am hurt by this ordeal.
Bangladesh is extremely hot and humid. We have no air conditioning as the power goes out every day. These power outages can last twelve hours or more. The air is heavily polluted and I get food poisoning every week from the poor quality of food here.
Raw sewage flows in open drains in front of our apartment. I see people outside with mangled bodies dying on the street because of the heat and starvation. I see mothers practically giving their children away because they are unable to feed them.
I do not know the language and I fear going outside because I am different from everyone else. Speaking in English is an easy way to be targeted here. We cannot afford to live in a safer area. I have not left the apartment for 8 months. It simply is too dangerous for me to leave the apartment unless my parents go with me. I cannot attend school due to the language barrier. I do not know anyone in Bangladesh.
On top of all this, my parents are both ill and have been for months. My father suffers severe asthma attacks that make him bedridden on most days. My mother has post traumatic stress and cannot accept the fact that she is not at our home in Texas.
These events transpired after we were approved to receive our Green Cards. ICE forced my family to leave knowing that Green Cards were available to us. We have been waiting for our Green Cards for 15 years now.
Mr. President, you are the most powerful man in the world, all I ask from you is to bring me home. All I ever wanted was an education so I could become an engineer. I just want to go home and go back to college.
Please don't keep me exiled any longer. Please bring me home.
To take action and support the DREAM Act, the University Leadership Initiative has provided the following:
Ask for the following people and leave a message with their office.
"Hi I am calling to ask that Senator _______ vote for the DREAM Act.This bill will allow for undocumented youth to fix their status by serving this country in the armed services in addition to allowing for them to return the investment our country has made in them.Please have the member support the dream act."
Sen. Hatch of Utah
Sen. Bunning of Kentucky
Sen. Bennet of Utah
Sen. Gregg of New Hampshire
Sen. Bailey-Hutchison of Texas
Sen. McCain of Arizona
Sen. Voinovich of Ohio
Sen. Snowe of Maine
Sen. Collins of Maine
Sen. LeMeiux of Florida
Sen. Brownback of Kansas
Sen. Hagan of North Carolina
Sen. Pryor of Arkansas
Sen. Landrieu of Louisiana
Sen. Conrad of North Dakota
Sen. Dorgan of North Dakota
Sen. Nelson of Florida
Sen. Baucus of Montana
Sen. Tester of Montana
Sen. Feinstein of California