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A Letter to the President From a DREAMER in the Denver Post
Photo: Bruce Randolph Graduation
Today’s Contribution is from America’s Voice Online. By Mahwish Khan is a writer for Americas Voice
In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama said this about Bruce Randolph School in Denver:
Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97% of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said “Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing ... that we are smart and we can make it.”
In that same address, Obama also said:
Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. And I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. (Applause.) I know that debate will be difficult. I know it will take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who could be staffing our research labs or starting a new business, who could be further enriching this nation.
Turns out one of those talented, responsible young people, Isaias Vasquez, just graduated with honors from Bruce Randolph. He also wants to go to college. Sadly, he’s undocumented. Without the DREAM Act, his options are slim to none. Over the weekend, Isaias wrote an open letter to the President which was published in the Denver Post. It’s very compelling—and powerful. Here’s an excerpt:
But as I got older, I began to realize I was considered inferior and to sense the fear in my community, that my family and I could be deported at any moment. Now, as an undocumented student ready to graduate, I am paying the price for a decision I had no part in making.
My dream is to become a psychiatrist. I’ve been accepted to Metro State and several other state schools, but I don’t qualify for in-state tuition and I have no legal way to get a job. Once I moved that tassel of my graduation cap from the right to the left, I realized I have nothing.
The DREAM Act is my only hope. I was shattered when it failed to pass the U.S. Senate last December. Then, in April, Colorado’s ASSET bill, which would have provided in-state tuition to undocumented students, failed in the Colorado House.
President Obama, in your State of the Union speech you also spoke about the DREAM Act, and those of us who would benefit from it. Again, I felt like you were speaking directly to me when you said, “Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens . . . children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation.”
Read the entire letter. Let’s hope the President reads it too.