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An Open Letter to U.S. Senator George Voinovich (R-OH),


As religious leaders representing people of faith across Ohio, we recognize that you are a person of strong faith and moral conscience.  Throughout your career you have served the state of Ohio honorably, and as a U.S. Senator you have supported humane and necessary immigration reforms that would benefit our immigrant neighbors and our community as a whole. 


Now, as you prepare to retire, you have an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy of leadership and moral courage by supporting the DREAM Act. If you oppose this legislation, however, you turn your back on the futures of hardworking, undocumented young people and tarnish your record as a leader committed to the principles and goals of the religious community. 


As you know, the DREAM Act would create a pathway to lawful permanent residence and eventual earned citizenship for thousands of upstanding high school graduates who were brought to the United States as children years ago, including many students here in Ohio.  Many of these children have thrived, mastering English and excelling in school, serving their communities and contributing to the future of America.


Bernard Pastor, who has lived in the U.S. since age three, is one such student. His teachers at Reading High School in Hamilton, OH, describe him as an “upstanding person of great moral character,” and he graduated among the top five students in his class.  But Bernard will be separated from his family and deported to Guatemala, a country he does not know, if the DREAM Act fails to pass in the current session of Congress.


Many other students who call Ohio their home, who are members of our communities, constantly face barriers to education and employment that would allow them to serve their communities and their country because current immigration law does not recognize their special circumstances.  There is nothing they can do to rectify their status.  The DREAM Act would remedy this. 


Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, “there is such a thing as being too late….There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect.”  If the DREAM Act does not pass in the 111th Congress, it will be too late for Bernard Pastor and other young people like him in our communities.


Senator Voinovich, your vote on the DREAM Act could well be the last you cast as Ohio’s senior Senator. There are no deals left to strike, no political tomorrows to think about, no leaders or special interests to please or defy. All that remains is your legacy, your conscience and your faith.


You hold tremendous sway over the future of Bernard Pastor and thousands like him who have run afoul of our immigration law through no fault of their own, and are now at risk being permanently taken away from the only homeland they have ever known.


These are real people, children of God, and with an “aye” or a “nay” you will help determine whether their lives are blessed with great opportunity or marred by unimaginable hardship. We implore and admonish you to do the right thing. History will remember your choice, and so will we.





November 24, 2010


Note: Bernard Pastor is an eighteen year old from Guatemala that was brought to the United States at the age of three by his family who was seeking asylum [escaping from political and religious persecution].  He graduated from Reading High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is an honor student, a star soccer player, and an avid community volunteer.  His father is a Pentecostal minister.

Bernard Pastor‘s hope is to become a minister himself.  He speaks limited Spanish.

He got into a minor fender bender. He was arrested the day before Thanksgiving because he is undocumented and is now scheduled for deportation.  

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Representative Steve Driehaus assisted in helping to postpone his deportation.  The youth is being held in jail pending a review of his case. Supporters held a vigil/rally on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010 at the Morrow County Correctional Facility, Mount Gilead.    

Calls need to be made now requesting Senators to act quickly to save Bernard Pastor from deportation through a private bill. Contact:  
George Voinovich’s main office: (513) 684-3265; Fax: (513) 684-3269; DC office (202) 224-3353; or Sherrod Brown’s office: 513-684-1021.
You can say, for example, the following: “I am calling to ask that Senator Voinovich do everything in his power to stop Bernard Pastor (A#076-432-989) from being deported. Bernard would qualify for the DREAM Act, as he has been in the US since he was 3 years old, was top 5 in his high school class, and dreams of serving his community by becoming a pastor. Please introduce a private bill for Bernard, and please support and work to pass the DREAM Act. Thank you.”



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Revised: 02/26/14 19:54:56 -0800.





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