LatinaLista — In our ongoing show of support and solidarity with the thousands of undocumented youth who qualify to stay in the United States under what is known as the DREAM Act, Latina Lista continues publishing the DREAM letters by young people who face an uncertain life and future because of their illegal status.</p>
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!
Chih Tsung Kao
The following letter is from a young man who wasn’t willing to wait for Congress to act and decide his destiny. He was forced to make a decision that will forever change his life — and keep him from coming back to the only place he knows as home.
Dear President Obama,
My name is Chih Tsung Kao. I am 24 years old and am now currently living in Taipei, Taiwan awaiting military service. This is not what I had planned for my life as I entered high school, but it was drastically altered when I found out that I was undocumented at 17.
I arrived in the US on a visitor’s visa when I was about 4 years old. My mother had obtained a student visa for me shortly afterwards and moved me to Boulder, Co to live with my grandparents.
By the age of 13 my grandparents decided they wanted to retire and move to California. Being raised in Boulder, the only city I’ve ever known, I decided I wanted to stay and found a friend’s parents who would take me in.
I’ve learned a lot about what it is to be American and to grow up being American from this family. They have been more family to me than my own biological family. I had not lived with my biological parents since I was brought to the US.
When I found out about my expired student visa status in high school, I was both ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t call myself an American. I had felt every bit American as my peers in school, but was not allowed to call myself one due to my lack of papers.
My grandparents aren’t to blame. They are older and don’t know how the system works.