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Please support our area youth

Dear Editor:

I, like Lindsay Hentschel before me, am writing to encourage the greater valley community to support the Dream Act.

As a high school teacher, the culmination of my students’ hard work is graduation. Up until this point, my undocumented students have been given more or less the same opportunities as their documented peers. They’ve shared classrooms, sports fields and performing arts stages. They’ve planned their futures together.

They have dreams – dreams of going to college, dreams of choosing a career that interests them, dreams of changing the world. Yet, as of now, very few of these students are given the opportunity to make these things happen. That’s why we need the Dream Act, as well as something similar at the state level, the Colorado ASSET bill, which would allow undocumented students an affordable education and an earned pathway to citizenship.

I know this issue can be very controversial. It makes us uncomfortable, so we oftentimes choose not to get involved. This is easier to do when we perceive an issue as faceless. In this valley, this issue is NOT faceless. This isn’t about a mysterious group called “them.” These are kids YOU know. Students you have passed on the street. Students you have cheered for at local sporting events. Students who have bagged your groceries, or served your dinner, or changed your tires. Students whose names you have read on the district honor roll. Students you have probably always assumed have the same opportunities as your own children.

Each of these students has a story. Each of them has overcome obstacles and carved a place for themselves in our schools and communities. Many have been here since before they could walk or talk. This is their home. When we tell them that their dreams essentially end after high school, we’re punishing them for something that was never their decision in the first place.

Are we, as a society, willing to sacrifice the futures of an entire generation as a message to their parents? I know that I’m not. It just doesn’t feel right. We can address the immigration question without sacrificing these kids’ dreams, and I hope we do, before it’s too late. Please, call and urge those in Congress to vote in support of the Dream Act!

Jaclyn Vosler

Carbondale


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