June 21, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
My name is Sara, and I live in one of two sanctuary counties in Nebraska. Because of this, there is a large immigrant community residing here, and many work supporting agriculture all over our state. During the pandemic, many who risked their lives and continued working to keep our nation fed were immigrants.
One in three students in my children’s elementary school speaks a language other than English at home. When we talk about immigrants, we are talking about my neighbors and my children’s classmates. I am afraid for them, and my heart aches for their struggles. I am still haunted by an image of a little girl in Mississippi crying upon her arrival to an empty house after an ICE raid on the first day of school in 2019. This little girl could have been any of the children in our neighborhood. Then more images follow of children penned up, lying on bare concrete and cuddling chrome colored blankets, unsure where their parents are. When I pick up my children after school, I am met with the flurry of children scattering towards home, and I find myself breathing a prayer of sorts. I want for each of them what my own children have: the security that their home and family can’t be snatched from underneath them, and the dignity to pursue any dream they want in life.
All people, whether immigrants or naturally born, whether documented or undocumented, deserve to live in safety and dignity free from the fear of incarceration, deportation or separation from their families. We need to offer a path to citizenship or LPR status for the 11 million undocumented people currently residing here already, and we must provide a safe means of seeking asylum for those who have been forced to flee their homes. And we absolutely must stop separating families and placing adults and children in private prisons. Many promises over the course of many campaigns have been made to the immigrant community, and votes have been cast in good faith. It is time for us as a nation to live up to those promises. If congress will not act either through budget reconciliation or elimination of the filibuster, I ask that you use your own executive powers to make this right.
I served in the Army with many immigrants, some who were citizens and others who were not. All of us wore the same uniform and stood under the same flag. While we were in training, one of our teachers said, “The United States does the right thing. We set the moral standard.” We must do this now. We must stand by our promises we have made to immigrants and asylum seekers. Their lives and our souls depend on it.
Sara, Omaha, NE