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Letters to President Obama


Sheryl Cousineau, Kennewick, Washington

March 14, 2015

Dear President Obama,

The year was 2000, we had a small apple orchard in Eastern, WA, a bright eyed 4 year old came into my house. Her family was picking apples outside and I was going to read to her in my house. She looked around and asked "what do you do with all these rooms." I told her just my husband and I lived here, but my daughter would come visit and she could have a room. I fell in love with that little 4 year old and have followed her life since that day. Attending her Cincenera and high school graduation and other milestones in her life.

Yesterday she called me sobbing that her dad had been taken away. His crime, he was trying to work. Now please understand I have known this family of 4 plus their extended family since 2000. All I can tell you about them is they came to work from Mexico. Her father said, I came to make a better life for my children. Some have graduated from colleges and hold respectable jobs. Her father's immigration papers have been a problem. Her mom has always worked and just excitedly told me her "papers" will be finalized in July.

I am aware you have worked so hard with congress to get a bill passed to assist persons living in our country without proper papers, but this has been difficult for congress to complete.

I feel such sadness, like I have lost one of my sons, but the grief this family, mom, sister, brother are feeling is immeasurable. I ask that you could please do anything in your power to assist the people of our country who are here undocumented who are just looking to make a better life and work become legal citizens.

Most sincerely,

Sheryl Cousineau

The President's Response

Dear Sheryl,

Thank you for taking the time to write me a letter. This country's immigration system has been broken for a very long time, and stories like yours underscore the hardships created by this system. It's clear you care deeply about fixing it.

America is not a nation that kicks out hardworking people who strive to earn a piece of the American dream. We're a nation that finds a way to welcome them and to harness their talents so we can make the future brighter for everybody—that's the legacy we need to leave to the next generation.

Again, thank you for writing. In the months ahead, I will keep your letter in mind as I continue to do everything in my power to ensure America remains a place where all of us have the chance to live up to our fullest potential, and where we celebrate the diverse contributions of immigrants across our great Nation.