Dahlia Aliwa, Finalist, Local Letters for Global Change

Juan Luís, a football player in high school, dropped out of community college to earn money for his family after Audemio was deported. Image by Elliott Woods. United States, 2018.

Juan Luís, a football player in high school, dropped out of community college to earn money for his family after Audemio was deported. Image by Elliott Woods. United States, 2018.

This letter features reporting from "Jailed, Raped, Robbed, Deported" by Elliot Wood

Dear Jim Banks,

Elliot Wood’s story about undocumented immigrant Audemio Orózco Ramirez expresses the need to protect immigrant rights. Immigrants are vital to the success of our society and most importantly our nation.  It is necessary that constitutional rights are given to all, not just U.S-born citizens. In order to protect these immigrants, I believe that Congress needs to pass Bill 1615 which authorizes the cancelation of removal and adjustment of status of certain individuals who are long-term U.S. residents and entered the United States as children. 

Through this bill, undocumented children and young adults are able to access the freedoms that American citizens are able to benefit from and able to stay in the U.S, achieve higher education, and work permits. The bill supports us all as their benefits support the U.S economy by strengthening it. Immigrants are 30% more likely to start a new business in the U.S  compared to a non-immigrant. 18% of all small business owners are immigrants, and according to the Fiscal Policy Institute, small businesses owned by immigrants employed over 4.7 billion workers in 2007 and the small businesses were able to generate $776 billion annually. We are able to gain from these immigrants as they are a major driver of economic growth as they create new jobs, and introduce new businesses to the U.S which improve our economy and increase our tax base. 

Repealing this bill would hurt the economy by abandoning entrepreneurs, talented workers, and students who not only move the economy forward, but also strengthen and define the American dream. Another reason why the Dreamers should remain in the U.S is that they are not criminals but determined students who want to achieve a college education.They are young adults who grew up here and call America home; they are striving to become doctors, scientists, lawyers, engineers, and leaders in their communities. Allowing the dreamers to remain means a growing economy, because they give back billions of dollars to the government each year. It was not their choice to come here as children, but they have grown up here and positively contribute to our country.

An alternative way to protect these hardworking individuals is to promote legal education and training in order to help these immigrants to understand their rights. Immigrants have extremely low political power in the United States despite the fact that this country was founded on the backs of immigrants. Audemio Orózco Ramirez was violated in his detention center, and felt trapped and unable to tell anyone what had occurred. Many are taken advantage of because they lack information or language skills. There are thousands of immigrants who are clueless about their guaranteed rights that are protected under the constitution. Promoting sessions which educate immigrants—documented and undocumented—could save and protect thousands of families. 

Please vote for bill 1615 and promote legal education for immigrants.

Sincerely,

Dahlia Aliwa

Dahlia Aliwa was raised in the small yet booming city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. As a 12th grade student at Wayne New Tech, she is involved in her school’s Rotary International club and Key club where she discovered her passion of giving back to the community. Some of Dahlia’s hobbies include reading, traveling and having fun with friends and family. As the daughter of two immigrants, she recognizes the influence of her ideas and allows for her voice to be heard. Dahlia would like to thank her Mom and Sister for always fueling her creativity, and teachers Ms. Giessler and Mr. Toy for their support and exigency for her to become a critical thinker.