Sen. Scott Brown agreed to our meeting request! There is no longer any need to sign this petition. He did not agree to two key elements of our request, though, so we are asking people to sign a new petition.
Leaders of Harvard College Act on a Dream and the Student Immigrant Movement are asking Senator Scott Brown to to meet with immigrant youth from Harvard and across Massachusetts who are being adversely affected by the broken federal immigration system before April 17.
By some estimates, there are currently two million undocumented youth living in the United States. Every year approximately 65,000 undocumented youth graduate from high schools across the U.S. With graduation season fast approaching, yet another generation of undocumented immigrant youth will be lost to the shadows if something doesn't change.
Having been brought into the country as young children, these youth have lived most of the lives in the United States, and only know this country as their home. After graduating from high school, they face unique barriers to higher education, are unable to work legally in the U.S., and are increasingly at risk of detention, deportation, and even death. Under current U.S. immigration law, there is no absolutely no mechanism for considering the special circumstances of these youth.
We believe some of the following stories from undocumented youth across Massachusetts illustrate how desperate the situation is:
Last year, Nur Munir, our peer from the Harvard Divinity School, disappeared for over a month after he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Another one of our peers at Harvard, Alan, whose story was covered in the Boston Globe, was forced to leave the United States in January, effectively barring him from ever returning to the the only country he's ever known as his home. Another immigrant youth from Massachusetts, 19-year-old Gustavo Rezende recently committed suicide.
We believe these situations could have been avoided if it weren't for the broken federal immigration system. There are at least a dozen others at Harvard and thousands of others across Massachusetts that are at risk of similar fates if something isn't done soon.
We're asking Sen. Brown to meet with immigrant youth so that he can better understand the hardships the members of all our communities face as a result of a broken federal immigration system, and help us come up with solutions. We understand that Sen. Brown is extremely busy, but the lives of our peers and the health of our communities are at increasingly at risk with each passing day. This issue affects all of us, native born and immigrant, documented and undocumented alike. Please stand with us in calling for Sen. Brown to meet with immigrant youth before he returns to Washington D.C. on the weekend of April 17.
After signing this petition you will get an email back from Jennifer Han, Director of Scheduling for Sen. Brown, asking you to fill out a form email for a meeting request. This is how we filled out the form an we encourage supporters to do the same:
Organization Name and Description: Harvard Act on a Dream - A Harvard student group that organizes for the interests of immigrant youth at Harvard and works closely with local immigrant youth organizations like the Student Immigrant Movement.
Contact Name and Title: Mr. Kyle de Beausset
Meeting Purpose (need specific issues): To hear the stories of immigrant youth affected by the federal immigration system.
MA Connection: We are all residents of Massachusetts
Meeting Location: Massachusetts
Work #: N/A
Cell #: Private
Address: Harvard College Act On A Dream, Student Organization Center at Hilles, Box #59, Shepard Street Cambridge, MA 02138
Requested Date (no open-ended requests): April 16 (Or anytime before April 17)
Suggested Time: 5:00 p.m.
Meeting Attendee(s) Name, City of Residence, Title and Affiliation (if requestor is attending, please include his/her information): Leaders of Act on a Dream --- Kyle de Beausset (Cambridge, MA), Scott Elfenbein (Cambridge, MA), Melissa Tran (Cambridge, MA). Leaders of the Student Immigrant Movement -- Isabel (Methuen, MA), Deiv (Dartmouth, MA), Renata (Brockton, MA)
ALREADY SIGNED THE PETITION? Ask everyone you know to do the following:
1. SIGN the petition at change.org and ask all of your friends and family to do the same, especially if they are Massachusetts residents.
2. CALL Brown's D.C. office (202-224-4543) and his local office (617-565-3170) to ask whether or not Brown will meet with us before April 17.
3. JOIN the Facebook group and ask all of your Facebook friends to do the same:
4. HELP us fight any misinformation or nativism that you see online regarding our meeting request.
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.