Two weeks ago I emailed the Salt Lake Tribune a letter to the editor, which they never printed. (I understand there are any number of benign reasons for that.) I wanted to put public attention on the story of dozens of refugee youths I had the pleasure of personally teaching last year, and speak in defense of DACA to my Utah neighbors and public officials. Hopefully I can still accomplish that by self-publishing and shouting from the digital rooftops.
Senator Mike Lee:
Two months ago I sent you a letter pleading for you to stand for immigrant protections in Utah. I explained how last year I spent 2 hours a week teaching video game development as a volunteer at the community college’s Refugee Center in Murray. I never knew or cared about the legal status of my students. They were just bright, creative kids there to learn skills to contribute to the world, just like I was years ago. I’m doing everything I can to share my gifts and opportunities. I promise, you can’t imagine how angry and disappointed I will be with you if you let a single one of those kids get deported. The letter you sent back to me made it extremely clear that you won’t stand with me on this, and you must not value the time I invested teaching those kids.
Your staff member Pete Blair wrote, “It is important that we have a strict system of immigrant vetting that offers a real impediment to illegal entry and protects American citizens from those who wish us harm.” He later suggests an emphasis on “border security, visa reform, interior enforcement, and workplace verification.” How could you be so callous as to work AGAINST me and the other volunteers who spent every Saturday morning trying to help smart and ambitious youths find opportunity in life? Those kids (and adults) who I interacted with in the Refugee Center are so dramatically the opposite of “those who wish us harm.” Who are you even talking about when you say that? The facts very clearly tell a different story about who we should be afraid of in America. It’s not immigrants.
Now with the president revoking DACA, I have ever more reason to feel hopeless that my country values anything I believe in or work towards in this world. I will not be voting for you in any future elections unless you truly listen to what I and the majority of other caring citizens are imploring. Defend DACA in congress. If you don’t, there is no chance I will ever vote for you in a future election. Please, I’m asking nicely.
Not giving up,
—Nat Quayle Nelson
I’ll be personally making sure Mike Lee reads my message. To do your part you can:
- Share this post
- Use Resistbot to contact your own government officials in support of DACA and further immigrant protections by texting ‘Resist’ to 50409
- Donate to WeAreMakers, Resistbot or the International Rescue Committee
- Find your local refugee center and start volunteering
The secret to life in 2017 is putting your anger to productive use!