News & Media

PICO Letter - Protecting DREAM Eligible Youth

October 23, 2011  |  PICO Network  |  Link to article


October 20, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

As faith leaders we are deeply concerned about the future of our nation’s youth. Record youth unemployment, erosion of public education and growing barriers to higher education are putting the American Dream of a better life outside the reach of children from all backgrounds, especially Latino and African-American youth.

No group is more at risk than youth who were brought to this country as children, worked hard to graduate from high school, but are now unable to go to college, find a job or join the military. That is why we are writing to you today with the urgent request that you take proactive steps to protect DREAM eligible youth.

Your Prosecutorial Discretion announcement on August 18, 2011 provided hope to families and congregations across the United States. On paper, the policy promises protection to our youth, but in practice we are continuing to see the deportation of DREAM eligible young people. Moreover the policy is being applied in an illogical way, since it requires youth to be arrested, detained, and put in removal proceedings before they get protection. On its face this makes no sense. That is why we urge you to protect DREAM eligible youth by providing them with an opportunity to come forward and get the same protection they would receive if they were in removal proceedings.

The strength of our nation has always been tied to our willingness to provide a pathway to opportunity to all of our youth. DREAM eligible youth are among the best organized young people in the United States and are at the cutting edge of a rising youth movement that promises to reshape our nation. 

We urge you to meet with them, feel their pain and take responsibility to provide protection to them so that they can contribute to building their country.

 

Sincerely,

Fr. Jon Pedigo

PICO Immigration Steering Committee, PICO National Network