Skip to main content
Elisa Batista's picture

(Pictured: Ivan Nikolov awaits deportation to Russia, even though he barely speaks the language and considers the United States his only home.)

When I was at the Netroots Nation conference, I had the privilege of meeting the many young people who would be helped if Congress passed the DREAM Act, which would grant conditional temporary residency to undocumented college students. I met students like Matías Ramos, Prerna Lal, Lizbeth Mateo, and Yahaira Carrillo, who stood before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in quiet protest. They are all hardworking and high-achieving students who were brought to the United States as children. Ramos earned a scholarship to attend UCLA, and crashed at various friends' places as he had no money to pay for housing.

The DREAM Act has been hailed as a good first step for immigration reform, as young people could support their parents and help them acquire the necessary documentation to remain in the country.

As a tribute to the brave and hard-working young people I met at Netroots Nation, I wanted to feature their stories here as a way to help build support for the DREAM Act. Here is one of them, which was written for a series titled, "DREAM Now Series: Letters to Barack Obama":

"Dear Mr. President,

"In May, my mother and I were picked up in an immigration raid in our home. I was told that in 2002, when I was just 12, I missed a court date at which I was ordered removed from this country. I've been in detention for three months, now, awaiting my deportation. My mother was deported on Friday, August 6th, and I'm set to be deported any day now.

"I immigrated to the United States from Russia when I was just 11 years old. My mother married a U.S. citizen who is the only father I know. I do not remember much about the journey to America, nor did I even know I was undocumented until I was 15 and asked my parents about getting a driver's permit. This is the only country I know as my home and I don't know what I would do if I were deported, now.

"I am a long-time resident of Michigan. I have a fiancée who has been with me for over three years. It would be a great loss to her and to my community if I were deported.

"In Russia, it would be difficult for me to survive. I barely speak the language and I have very little family there. I dream of studying film or music. I love my pets and my many friends in the U.S. I want to be able to see them again. Please take action now to stop my deportation.

Ivan Nikolov"

To help out Ivan, here are petitions and specific legislators you can call, which originally appeared at the Citizen Orange website. Carrillo's and Ramos's stories are also featured. Many thanks, all!

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of strongly encourages our readers to post comments in response to blog posts. We value diversity of opinions and perspectives. Our goals for this space are to be educational, thought-provoking, and respectful. So we actively moderate comments and we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that undermine these goals. Thanks!