Dear Senator Boxer,
First, I'd like to thank you for your efforts to date in the U.S. Senate to advance democracy. Your recent vote against the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General of the United States of America, in direct defiance of the current Administration's affinity for violation of human rights, was proof positive that you are not only a thoughtful and intelligent Congressperson, but a magnificent human being, as well. You make me proud to be a Californian.
As you are no doubt aware, 1995 was a banner year for upsetting news: the cowardly attack on Oklahoma City by domestic terrorists, the tragic Kansai earthquake (which I myself had the misfortune of experiencing directly), and the massive volcanic eruption on the island nation of Montserrat, which forced thousands from their homes and livelihoods.
Almost 300 hundred Montserratian refugees landed on America's shores, and were awarded temporary protected status. For the past 10 years, they've made do as best as they can, finding jobs, paying taxes, and rebuilding their lives. During their stay, they have proven themselves a tribute to their people, and deserve whatever mercy and kindness our great nation can afford.
Unfortunately, on July 6, 2004, then-Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge terminated the temporary protected status for Montserratians as of February 27, 2005, by which date they must either leave or face deportation, despite the State Department's assessment that Montserrat continues to be uninhabitable. These good people have, in virtually every case, nothing and no one to return to; their homes remain buried under tons of ash and rock. The volcano continues to vent ash and dangerous gasses, and could erupt again.
It has come to my attention that pending legislation in Congress would offer permanent residency to the Montserratians. I beg you please to back this legislation, and enlist whatever help you can from your fellow Senators in seeing it passed. The 292 Montserratians currently living among us have suffered terribly enough as it is. We must not allow the DHS to further compound their misery.
Thank you so much for your time.
Feel free to write to your Senators, and borrow liberally from my crappy letter (having said that, IIRC original letters get more attention than obvious form letters.) Go wild!
No word on how my petition is going. Will keep you updated.