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We are children of all ages, from around the country. We are immigrants, children of immigrants, and children whose families have lived in this country for many years. We are leaders in our families and in our communities. We are the present and the future of this country.
Ten thousand of us have written letters to members of Congress to say that United States immigration laws are violating our human rights – including our right to grow up in a family and be cared for by our parents. 5.5 million children in the United States live with the fear that a parent could be deported. For too many of us, this fear has already become a reality. We are here to say that policies that tear our families apart must come to an end.
Our letters and drawings express all of the emotions we feel. We are devastated at losing our parents. We are angry about this injustice in a country that says it values families. We are disappointed to learn that we, the children, are expected to keep our promises, play fair, and clean up our messes, yet the U.S. government hasn’t yet shown that it can do the same. We love our families, we love our home, and we are hopeful that, in this country, change is possible.
Our letters show how much we need a solution now. Each letter shows that we need a roadmap to citizenship for all of the members of our families and our communities: the full 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.
Children and youth need changes in our immigration laws that will:
- Keep our families together. No parents, children or families should be separated by deportation or detention.
- Allow us to grow up and thrive, with the education, healthcare and social services that we need.
- Guarantee our parents the right to take care of us.
- Make sure our families are able to rise and stay out of poverty.
- Allow us all to live without fear that our parents, family members and friends might be taken away as a result of deportation or detention.
With our letters, children around the country show that what harms one of us harms us all. We all deserve to live in a country and in a world where no child suffers, and where families and communities are able to grow and prosper together.