This letter is in response to the letter that Senator Hagan has begun to send out, stating her position on the DREAM Act. We have been hearing from a lot of our supporters that they have been receiving the same letter as well, and we feel it necessary to continue to state our case. Please call 1-888-254-5087 and ask for Senator Hagan’s office or facebook her to inform her that the time is now, the DREAM is coming, and that she should co-sponsor and support the DREAM Act.

Since we began our push for the DREAM Act, the Senator has moved from her previous position of non-committal to considering “some of the positions” of the DREAM Act “in the context of comprehensive immigration reform.” However, in order to achieve her stated goal of “comprehensive immigration reform,” the Senator needs to reconsider how she views the progress of current legislation.

The Senator said she wants to “shut down the underground economy” and “crack down on employers that knowingly hire illegal workers.” Unfortunately, the economy that thrives on these immigrants is anything but underground. The employers of undocumented workers include: North Carolina poultry plants; hog, poultry, vegetable and tobacco farms; and hundreds if not thousands of small businesses across the state.

This economy is supported by the Internal Revenue Service which issues 9-digit Tax ID numbers (ITINs) to millions of undocumented immigrants. Charlotte-based banks like Citizen Home Loan and Bank of America offer forms of credit both to these immigrants and their employers.

The IRS has done this since 1996—that year, the government also banned undocumented immigrants from receiving federal services that it was now asking them to stay and pay for. With this in mind, it is clear that there are no illegal immigrants, but rather an illegal immigration system that creates a separate class of unprotected taxpayers.

Since a “crackdown” on this economy would require the collective punishment of the entire state—if not the country—a reform approach should come before a punitive one. The DREAM Act is the first step in the right direction.

The DREAM Act, S. 729, is the only bill before the Senate that is ready for a vote. Unlike any hypothetical bill that could come before the Senate, the DREAM Act has already been introduced and already has bipartisan support. The DREAM Act is also easier to defend on its merits than any complicated healthcare-like Senate bill, which could more easily be called an “amnesty.”

The DREAM Act, however, is anything but “amnesty.” It is a rigorous and selective path to legal residence, earned in stages, through hard work and service to our country and communities. The hard work and service required is even greater for those who would put their lives on the line protecting this country under the bill’s provisions for military service.

Thanks to the efforts of brave students like our hunger strikers, the DREAM Act now has significant attention and momentum—more than it has ever had. Major publications like Forbes have published supportive editorials as recently as this past July. Organizations like LULAC and Reform Immigration for America who pushed for comprehensive immigration reform now say that it should be achieved starting with the DREAM Act.

North Carolina is one of the states most affected by immigration—it will also benefit the most from reform. Instead of remaining lock-step with the Washington status quo, we hope that the Senator will take this opportunity to lead.