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The Commons
Voices / Letters from readers

Dreamers deserve to pursue their lives with full rights and freedom

The writer serves as president of the School for International Training, which includes SIT Graduate Institute and SIT Study Abroad.

Originally published in The Commons issue #425 (Wednesday, September 13, 2017). This story appeared on page E2.

With great sadness, I need to comment, once again, on social injustice impacting our community and our country.

The reversal of the executive order shielding young, law-abiding, undocumented immigrants from deportation is cruel to the hopes and aspirations of a group of young people who have grown up in our midst, and it is directly contradictory to the national ethos of the United States.

Whereas the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program aimed to provide a pathway to a legal and fulfilling future for these young people, this ill-considered reversal exposes them to deportation once their permits are expired.

It is a bitter irony that these individuals — our “Dreamers” — have voluntarily brought themselves forward and registered with the U.S. government as an act of faith in their country (the only country they have ever known) and their country’s government.

As we consider what the future holds for the Dreamers and for the collective national conscience, it’s worth recalling the original vision of the “American dream” as conceived in 1931 by the writer James Truslow Adams. He speaks of “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

Adams writes: “It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

The Dreamers exemplify this aspiration. They are an integral part of our schools and universities, our work force, our military, our places of worship, and our communities. Their courage, resilience, and respect for law are exactly the characteristics that we seek to imbue in all of our young people.

They truly have dared to dream. To turn them away is to turn aside the best of what the United States stands for, and to turn our back on our future.

At SIT, we aim to be an inclusive community based on principles of social justice. On our behalf, I ask our legislators in Vermont and across the country to find a way forward for our Dreamers, a way that ensures they can pursue their lives with full rights and freedom.

We ask our government to say to our Dreamers once and for all that they have nowhere to go, because they are already home.

Sophia Howlett, PhD


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