Monday, March 9, 2009

Hearing recapped: Kevin Prada's letter

Thanks all who attended Saturday's Campus Community Hearing on the DREAM Act. For those who were unable to make it, we offer two recaps.

Recap 1: In an otherwise quiet Saturday morning on the eve of Winter Quarter finals, students and community members joined IDEAS at UCLA for a hearing on the history and future of the DREAM Act as a legislative battle, and of Dreamers, the undocumented potential beneficiaries of this legislation, as an important part of our cultural fabric. Undocumented students from Mexico, Argentina, and South Korea told their stories, speakers from Congressman Howard Berman's office, NILC, CHIRLA, the LA Archdiocese, and MALDEF offered their insight, and all attendees participated in breakout sessions where they signed "Commitment to Action" forms to help in the battle for the DREAM Act and immigrant rights.

Recap 2: During a hearing on immigrant rights, the largest lecture hall at UCLA was filled with sighs and tears as Kevin, a 12-year old U.S. citizen, read his own story of why this country needs better, more just, and more humane immigration policies, including the DREAM Act. Unable to summarize the letter with justice, we offer it here in its entirety.


Dear Mr. President Barack Obama,

Hello, my name is Kevin, a 12 year old American citizen, and I wish to express myself to you. My father, Wilber Prada, was deported on September 27, 2007. Until that date, my life was great, fun, happy, radiant with love for family. My father had crossed the border escaping the terrorist-infested Peru in the early 1990s. He came to America, pleading for the political-Asylum that America was offering for fleeing Peruvians. Unfortunately, his case was denied. He later appealed in 2000, again pleading for a citizenship for my family. By this time, he had a business in gardening, working Monday through Saturday. He was the greatest father I could ever ask for, always being there for me, and loving me so much, and teaching me my favorite sport soccer. We weren’t different from any other “American” family, and had the greatest life until he was deported.

The day he was deported was the WORST, SADDEST DAY OF MY LIFE. I couldn’t stop crying for days, just missing him even more everyday, getting worse and worse. I couldn’t go to school because I couldn’t concentrate on my work, only on my dad. My grades dropped so much, and I couldn’t tell my friends because they wouldn’t understand. I only had my mom, brother, and a great, enthusiastic teacher. My mother was also like me but worse. Even now, she still cries and still sad about what happened. Same with my brother. Luckily, time passed, and my teacher noticed. She cried and gave us love when she knew what had happened. It was a shame for the INS to take 17 years to say NO, even after my father established friendships, a business, and a home. He always paid his taxes to the IRS, and was a great man to know. When they took my dad, some said if it was so bad, why does the whole family not go to Peru with him? Well, that didn’t make sense to me, when I had also established friends, family, and school, love. It was a disgrace to hear that, when we were like any other family trying to survive in this nation.

My father was arrested like a criminal, as if he had done something like killing someone, or robbing a bank. My father has lived in the US for more than 17 years, a very long time, and after all of that, he was denied?

PLEASE, I write to you wishing for what you have promised, CHANGE. I would like to have my dad back with me, IN AMERICA. I would like for my hard-working family to have citizenship, and to be here without being scared of being caught by some sort of homeland security. My brother is an AB540 student, and studying at UCLA for 4 years. I would also like to ask you to give him and all the undocumented students citizenship, by passing the DREAM act. My mother has her own house-cleaning business she owns to feed us. I would also like her to have citizenship, when she is volunteering teaching Spanish at my school, taking me to karate everyday, and working everyday. Please, Give My Father FREEDOM. GIVE my Family FREEDOM. I WANT CHANGE NOW!

PLEASE, PLEASE, Please, reply to my letter, and remember when you were not raised with your father, just like me. You suffered a lot, and now im suffering the same. Please help me, and respond back to me.

Thank you,



Lu said...

Thanks for sharing Kevin's letter.

DreamACTivist said...

You got a shoutout from David!

I'll do a shoutout in a couple of days too.

2cool2care said...

man that was touching, props to the kid hang in there

MS. SOFiA PiA said...

I dont really know how to work this blog thing. I just signed up recently. But kevin , that was an extremely touching letter. I myself wrote a letter to Barack Obama. Unlike you, I am a non citizen waiting for my greencard to arrive since 2003. My papers got misplaced in the the immigration offices in texas, which has really worked against me. I attend classical high school in Providence, RI and I am a senior with honors. I am an artist and a medical assistant. I am graduating June 11, and unfortunately, I cannot attend college because my residency status is "yet to be proven". My mother is a biology, chemistry, and anatomy teacher at a high school, and we both pay taxes for this country. I have a driver's liscence and I serve the community, much more than most people. And still, I do not qualify for in-state tuiton for URI. I do not understand this, I do not think its fair. People misjudge immigrants, and always tell us to move back. Newflash: if our countries werent filled with paramilitary forces threatening our lives or 30 percent un empolyment rates, we wouldn't be leaving them in the first place.Its just all so wrong and overwhelming. All I want to do is go to school, work at least up to my masters degree and SERVE this country, and I cannot do it because the law does not allow me to do so..

- Sofia C.

Matias Ramos said...

Hang in there, Sofia!

I know that the challenges that this horrible system puts on us makes life seem really unfair, but I know you are gonna make it... Let me know if we can help. We have some fellow Dreamers in Providence.