(Editor’s Note: A Vista native, Marco Ortiz Sanchez is a UC Irvine student and a DACA recipient. He traveled to Washington with a group of 100 Dreamers in October.)
Dear Congressman Darrell Issa,
Thank you for welcoming me into your office to discuss the current situation facing American Dreamers, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries, like myself. Not everyone gets the opportunity to meet their representative on Capitol Hill, so I thank you for letting me into the office of the congressional district I’ve known all my life.
I grew up in Vista with the same belief every other American kid is taught to embrace: Work hard in school to achieve your dream. As you know, I started classes this year in the business administration program at University of California, Irvine. I knew gaining acceptance into such a competitive program was not going to be easy, but I kept a strong work ethic until that admissions email arrived. Like many Americans, I aspire to own a business one day and apply my degree to see it become a reality.
I never imagined that one day my entire future would be at stake. Today, all the hard work I’ve poured into my academic career to have a successful future is in the hands of Congress. So, I went into your office hopeful that we’d have a fruitful conversation about securing bipartisan support for the Dream Act, a bill that would drastically change my life and the lives of almost 800,000 other young people.
I hope you will commit to supporting the Dream Act soon because one thing you said to me that stood out was that you want to “help people like” me.
A few weeks after we spoke, I was happy to see you speak at a press conference of a Republican Coalition stringing together bipartisan support for the Dream Act. There, you and your colleagues used terms like “compassionate perspective,” “compelling stories,” and “good people” to describe Dreamers. Then you said Dreamers “do follow a category that long ago should’ve been dealt with compassionately.” For that reason, I know you know what the right thing to do is. After all, after hearing my story, you are fully aware of the impact your decisions will have on thousands of families.
Therefore, to help you along your decision-making, allow me to introduce you to America’s Dreamers who are just like me:
- 712,500 DACA beneficiaries are employed or in school
- 45,000 DACA beneficiaries have launched their own business
- 412,500 DACA beneficiaries have purchased a vehicle
- 90,000 DACA beneficiaries have bought their first home
- Every single DACA beneficiary has completed a background check
Not only will passing the Dream Act help the people listed above, it would also add about $281 billion to $1 trillion in national GDP over the next decade. In California alone, we would gain up to $6.1 billion in state GDP, an economic boost we cannot allow to pass by. The Dream Act not only benefits DACA and former DACA recipients, but it also benefits all of your constituents.
Once again, Congressman Issa, thank you for your devotion to public service and for the opportunity to discuss my future with you. Now this is your opportunity to “help people like me” live better lives, just like you said you wanted to. I urge for you, and the constituents of our district, to pledge your support for the Dream Act today.
Marco Ortiz Sanchez