Here's the letter I sent yesterday. Fell free to copy, or use it for ideas.
I am writing to strongly encourage your support of the DREAM act amendment to the defense policy bill now being considered. This is the single most important voting issue for me personally and for many of my family and friends.
We have waited entirely too long to offer a realistic path to legalization for so many kids and young adults who are as American as you and me in their hearts and minds. The additional requirement that they have clean criminal records, high school diplomas and two years of college or military service further ensures that these are exactly the kind of responsible “future citizens” that will contribute to the success of our country. This is not a partisan issue, but one of practicality.
It is impractical to think that if we fail to offer this opportunity that these individuals will self-deport. For them, their countries of birth are as foreign as they would be to you and me. Many no longer speak their native languages, nor have any family or ties to their birth-countries. To remove them to countries they have not seen since they were young children would be, in many cases, a death sentence.
It is further impractical to imagine that because these individuals do not have work authorization, that they are not working. Everyone in this country must work to survive and in the absence of work authorization, many are left without avenues to pay their income taxes, but nearly all are working. In this troubled economy, we need their share of income taxes and their employers need the stability of knowing these workers will not suddenly disappear.
In no other area do we punish children for the sins of their parents. In the case of these children and young adults, we are leaving them trapped between a life in the shadows and a homeland they do not know, not because they broke the law but because their parents did. In my opinion, this is truly cruel and not consistent with American values.
The larger issue of immigration reform is truly unconnected to these children and young adults. We can later debate what to do with those among us who chose to break the law and enter our country illegally or overstay their visas. These children are not part of that group- they are innocents paying an impossible price for the choices their parents made and living in the shadows of the only home they have ever known. To do nothing to help them would be, in my view, absolutely un-American.
Our military needs those eager to serve. Our economy needs those eager to educate themselves and live up to their full potential. Our country needs their tax dollars and these children need the stability of knowing that through their hard work and service, the country they call home, the United States, really will be their home forever.
Please continue to support the DREAM Act amendment.