To: President Barack Obama
To: John Morton, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
CC: Corrections Corporation of America

We represent more than 1400 graduate employees at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and write to ask you to intervene immediately to secure the release on humanitarian parole for the Dream 9, the undocumented youth who were detained attempting to come home through the Nogales port of entry on July 22nd, 2013. In this act of civil disobedience, the Dream 9 are courageously drawing attention to a broken immigration system that has deported 1.7 million immigrants – separating families and tearing apart communities – during the course of the Obama administration. No youth should be detained, much less placed in solitary confinement, for wanting nothing more than to return to their families, and we are joining the growing number of supporters rallying behind their release.

The DREAM 9 includes Lulu Martinez, A# 204-785-765, who is one of our current undergraduate students at UIC, and has long been a community and student leader actively fighting to make UIC accessible to all students regardless of their citizenship status.  The other brave DREAM 9 youth are Lizbeth Mateo, A# 087-757-237, Marco Saavedra, A# 200-203-132, Ceferino Santiago A# 205-991-103, Maria Peniche, A# 205-935-698, Luis Leon, A# 205-642-742 Adriana Gil Diaz, A# 205-735-699, Claudia Amaro, A# 098-725-748, and Mario Felix, A# 205-935-700.

A number of the workers we represent, many of the students we teach like Lulu, and many of their families are affected by deportations. The separation of families due to broken immigration laws does irreparable damage to the moral and economic foundations of this country. We do not support the criminalization of any immigrant who came to this country for no other reason than to work and provide a better future for their children.

We know the facts of this case well and know that each member of the DREAM 9 deserves to be admitted to the U.S. through humanitarian parole. What is more, we know that their phone access has been cut and that at least three of the nine remain in solitary confinement. These nine individuals were valedictorians of their high schools, they are future law school students, and they will all be vital members of our nation’s workforce much like any and all immigrants have been throughout our country’s history.

We await your prompt reply regarding the release of the Dream 9.

Sincerely,

UIC Graduate Employees Organization, Local 6297, IFT-AFT, AFL-CIO

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