Even returning to Mexico to “get in line” didn’t help undocumented student

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LatinaLista — Because Latina Lista believes it is the right thing to do to pass the DREAM Act as a stand-alone bill, we are partnering with Citizen Orange to publish the DREAM Now Letters of undocumented students who are speaking out about their personal experiences, feelings and hopes for a future that cannot happen without passage of the DREAM Act.

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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!

 

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Tania Unzueta and I’m undocumented.

I have lived in Chicago since I was 10 years old. I came with my mother to join my father, who had found a stable job and a promise to legalize his status. Eventually our tourist visas ran out, and my family became undocumented.

For years we lived in a small basement, then a small apartment. When we moved here, my dad had been offered a job with the promise of regularizing his status through employer sponsorship, 245-i. Our family was going through that process when the workers began to organize a union, and asked for the support of my dad. He gave it to them, which resulted in his dismissal from his position, and an end to the sponsorship.

 

I too have tried and failed to regularize my immigration status. When I graduated from high school I went to Mexico to try to apply for an international student visa, so that I could attend the colleges to which I had been accepted.

 

Even though I was the captain of my swim team and an honors student, my visa was not accepted. Eventually I was able to get a humanitarian visa to come back to Chicago. I pinned a lot of hopes for my future on the 2003 DREAM Act. It failed.

I hoped again in 2007- to the same result. Ever since then I have only tried to do the best I can with my life, trying to have a balance between being happy, giving back to my community, and working for the passage of the DREAM Act.

I was there with the DREAM Act 5 in John McCain’s office when three undocumented youth made history as the first undocumented immigrants commit civil disobedience and get detained with the aim of changing U.S. immigration law.

I was also one of the DREAM Act 21 to get arrested, for the second time in U.S. history, on Capitol Hill in a mostly successful effort to get Congress to shift towards taking up the DREAM Act this year (any and all help offsetting the costs of attending our court date is appreciated, by the way).

How many more youth will have to detain themselves before Congress passes the DREAM Act?

How many more lives have to be put on hold or lost to the shadows before our leaders act?

The time to pass the DREAM Act is now. Please join us.

Sincerely,
Tania Unzueta