DREAM Now Letters: Yahaira Carrillo

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 Yahaira Carrillo and I’m undocumented.  As I write this, over 20 undocumented youth are risking arrest and deportation to demand that Congress take action for the DREAM Act.  Just over two months ago, I, along with two others, became one of the first undocumented immigrants in U.S. history to do the same.  Like Mohammad Abdollahi, who wrote you a letter on Monday, I too am queer.  I risk being deported to a machista country, Mexico, where killings related to homophobia are rising.

I was born in 1985 to a barely-turned 16 year-old who had been kicked

out of her house while she was pregnant for being a disgrace to the

family. I lived with my mother in an abandoned house in Guerrero,

Mexico. She struggled to find work, but was either harassed or asked for

sexual favors. She said no. She was 17 in 1986 when the 8.1 magnitude

earthquake hit Mexico. She decided to take me to the U.S., but we didn’t

stay that long. At my grandmother’s request, we returned to Mexico. The

hits kept coming: my mother ended an abusive relationship with a

military man and feared for her life.

Then, my father called- after abandoning my mother while she was

pregnant and being MIA for most of my early years, decided he wanted us

to join him in California. My options have always been limited. I was 8

years old when I came to the U.S. When I was 14, my 18-year-old

boyfriend wanted to marry me. I said no. When I graduated from the top

of my high school class, I thought I couldn’t go anywhere. My parents

were migrant farm workers- college wasn’t likely. But years later, I

found a private college in Kansas that would accept me. I worked myself

to the bone, and obtained an Associate’s Degree. Today, I am working

towards my Bachelor’s degree. According to my calculations, it will take

me eight years.

I’ve had people tell me that it’s not a big deal, that I should keep on

waiting for the DREAM Act to pass. My life has been on pause, rewind or

replay for years. Waiting is not an option.  That is why undocumented

youth like myself are risking everything, right now, to pass the DREAM

Act, this year.  If we’re putting our lives on the line for this, Mr.

President, the least you can do is call members of Congress and ask them

to do the same. 

It started with 3 undocumented youth sitting in John McCain’s office,

and it has escalated to 20.  How many more will it take before Congress

passes the DREAM Act? 


Yahaira Carrillo

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.  Every Monday and Wednesday DREAM-eligible youth will

publish letters to the President, and each Friday there will be a DREAM

wrap-up.  If you’re interested in getting involved or posting these

stories on your site, please email Kyle de Beausset at kyle at

citizenorange dot com.

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

Visit thedreamiscoming.com for updates on Yahaira and the 20 undocumented youth who were recently arrested in support of the DREAM Act.   

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Wed 17 Dec 4:25 PM