In response to a petition and a sit-in in his local Boston office, Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) has graciously agreed to meet with one representative of immigrant youth, a U.S. citizen, in four to six weeks.
We are very thankful that Sen. Brown has agreed to meet with one of us. We believe this illustrates Sen. Brown is devoted to listening to all of his constituents. If nothing else, we appreciate the commitment Sen. Brown has already made and hope that he honors his commitment.
At the same time, we have a responsibility to both the members Harvard College Act on a Dream and the Student Immigrant Movement, as well as the over 300 people who signed the original petition, to hold Sen. Brown accountable to our original request.
First, we asked Sen. Brown to meet with immigrant youth before April 17, not in four to six weeks. Second, and perhaps most important we asked Sen. Brown to meet with several immigrant youth, not just one representative of immigrant youth.
We understand that Sen. Brown is balancing the needs of multiple constituents and is still settling into his role as a U.S. Senator. As such, we are humbly willing to give Sen. Brown more time to meet with us, but four to six weeks too long to wait. Every moment, immigrant youth are being detained, deported, and are even at risk of losing their lives. In four to six weeks, another generation of 65,000 undocumented youth will graduate from U.S. high schools, in danger of being lost to the shadows unless something is done quickly. Taking this into account, we would like Sen. Brown to meet with us before May 4, if possible.
Even more important than the timeline, however, is that Sen. Brown meet with multiple immigrant youth and their supporters. The entire purpose of our meeting request with Sen. Brown was to have him meet with and understand actual people who are being affected by the broken federal immigration system. We want immigrant youth to be more than numbers on a piece of paper to Sen. Brown so that he can be better at making decisions that affect people's lives. Our original meeting request listed six attendees. It's difficult to whittle that down much more, but we believe it is entirely reasonable to ask Sen. Brown to meet with at least four or five immigrant youth and their supporters within an alotted time period.
We hope that we are not being to presumptious with these two requests. Again, we are thankful that Sen. Brown has committed to a meeting with us and hope that he honors that commitment. At the same time, we owe it to our members and supporters to make these requests.
At the same time, it is important to be clear where I stand. Over 300 people, more than 100 of which are Massachusetts constituents, signed a petition and sent emails to Sen. Brown's office asking him to hear the stories of immigrant youth before April 17. There's two important elements which are being ignored in Sen. Brown's commitment. First, mid-May to late-June is not before April 17. Second, Sen. Brown was asked to hear the stories of multiple immigrant youth, not just one representative of immigrant youth.
I understand that Sen. Brown is busy, and is settling into his role as a U.S. Senator, and again, I appreciate that Sen. Brown's Office has been as responsive as he has been to his constituents. That is why I'm willing to give Sen. Brown some more time to meet with immigrant youth. 4-6 weeks, however, if I may humbly say so, is too long to wait. As I write this, immigrant youth are being detained, deported, and being forced into difficult situations where they either have to leave the United States or are even contemplating committing suicide. By mid-May, another generation of approximately 65,000 undocumented immigrant youth will have graduated from U.S. high schools. It is important that Sen. Brown hear these stories as soon as possible so that we can start working on solutions before another generation of undocumented immigrant youth is lost to the shadows the only country they know as their home.
It is also extremely important that Sen. Brown meet with multiple immigrant youth and their supporters. Hearing from one representative is not enough to understand the depth of this problem and how it affects real people. Otherwise, immigrant youth will just be numbers on a piece of paper to Sen. Brown. The original meeting request listed six attendees. It is difficult to whittle that down much more, but Sen. Brown should be able to meet with at least five or four immigrant youth and their supporters within an allotted time period.
I'm happy to hear that Sen. Brown is willing to meet with representatives of immigrant youth, regardless, but I would like him to meet with them sooner rather than later. It is also extremely important that Sen. Brown meets with more than one representative so that he can better understand the actual people these laws affect.