To the Editor:
Dear Rep. Mike Bost — Thank you for meeting recently with Southern Illinois Immigrant Rights Project (SIIRP) and for your sympathy toward Dreamers.
Protecting undocumented youth who were brought as children is widely popular, compassionate, and a great investment. Any attempt to make support of Dreamers conditional on increases in enforcement violates our values and undermines our interests.
The families of Dreamers came to America seeking safety, opportunity, and freedom. They sacrificed everything for the love of their children, much like the ancestors of many present-day Americans. These families and their children do not have any realistic path to legal status under existing laws. Dreamers experience significant barriers to getting a driver’s license, securing gainful employment, and accessing higher education.
Passing the DREAM Act would provide immigrant youth who have grown up here with the opportunity to achieve the American dream and give back to the country they already call home. It will grow Illinois’ GDP an estimated $4 billion a year. As our elected representative, you have both the power and the duty to enact new legislation when current laws do not promote our values and interests. Do not allow families to be torn apart. Do not allow our communities to lose our neighbors, teachers, service members, students, and friends. Protect the lives of young immigrants without criminalizing and endangering the families and communities who have nurtured them.
We call on you to exercise courage and principled leadership to work for an immediate passage of a clean DREAM Act.
Jess Jobe and Diane Speir