Durbin: Will America Be A Stronger Country If We Deport Young Immigrants Attending Medical School To Countries They Barely Know?

Senator Continues Tradition Of Sharing Dreamer Stories On The Senate Floor By Highlighting DACA Recipients Attending Loyola Chicago's Stritch School Of Medicine

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – With three weeks until the short-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security expires, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) came to the Senate Floor today to urge Senate Republicans to abandon efforts to play politics with the lives of young people impacted by immigration policies like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – including the medical students and DACA recipients who attend Chicago Loyola University of Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine.

This week, Durbin will highlight the stories of several students who are enrolled at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine – the first medical school in the country to openly accept DACA recipients. In August 2014, Durbin attended at event welcoming the first seven DACA medical students to Loyola. Photos from that event are available here, and video is available here.

“Admitting DACA students isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also good for Illinois, and for our country,” Durbin said. “As a result of this program, some of the best and brightest students in the country have come to Illinois to get a medical education. And they will stay in Illinois to help serve parts of our state that have a shortage of doctors. Will America be a stronger country if we deport Aaima Sayed and her fellow medical students to countries they barely remember? Of course not.”


Over the last few years, Durbin, the original sponsor of the DREAM Act, has shared the stories of more than fifty Dreamers on the Senate Floor.  In April 2010, Durbin was the first member of Congress to call for the establishment of DACA. Since House Republicans have threatened to eliminate DACA, Durbin has been updating the Senate regularly on the accomplishments and contributions of Dreamers who have received DACA. This year, Durbin has continued this tradition by updating the Senate about several Dreamers who are using DACA to give back to the country they love.


Today, Durbin shared the story of Aaima Sayed, who was brought to the United States from Pakistan when she was only 3-years-old. She graduated in the top 10 percent of her high school class, and went on to Rutgers University. Aaima took the Medical College Admission Test – the MCAT’s – and scored in the 90th percentile, better than 90 percent of those who took the test. Shortly after Aaima graduated, President Obama announced the DACA program. Because of DACA, Aaima is now a medical student at Loyola University, pursuing her dream of becoming a physician – after she graduates, she will work in a medically-underserved area of Illinois.


Video of Durbin’s remarks today on the Senate Floor will be available shortly here.


Audio of Durbin’s remarks today on the Senate Floor is available here.


Footage of Durbin remarks on the Senate Floor is available for TV Stations using FTP in high definition here and in standard definition here.


Last week on the Senate Floor, Durbin shared the stories of Ola Kaso, Juan Rios, and Karen Villagomez.


Ola is a Dreamer who was brought to the United States by her mother from Albania in 1998, when she was 5-years-old. This spring, Ola will graduate from college with a double major in Biochemistry and Women’s Studies. Ola has become involved in nanotechnology – a cutting-edge field that holds great promise for future technological breakthroughs– and plans to attend medical school to one day become an oncologist. Video of Durbin telling Ola’s story is available here.


Juan was brought to the United States when he was 10-years-old. He became a leader in the Air Force Junior R.O.T.C.  He became group commander and armed drill team captain, and rose to the rank of Cadet Lieutenant Colonel. In 2010, Juan graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering. After receiving DACA, today Juan is working as a mechanical engineer in the semiconductor industry. Video of Durbin telling Juan’s story is available here.


Durbin told Karen’s story for the first time last week. She was brought to the United States was brought to the United States when she was only 2-years-old, and grew up in Chicago where she was an outstanding student and showed interest in public service. After she received DACA, Karen found a job as a paralegal at a law firm in Chicago, where she has been working for the last two years. This fall, she will begin law school. Video of Durbin telling Karen’s story is available here. Audio of Durbin and Karen participating in a conference call hosted by America’s Voice last week is also available here.


Earlier this year, Durbin provided additional updates on three Dreamers who have received DACA: Carlos Martinez, and Carlos and Rafael Robles. Carlos Martinez and his brother were brought to the United States in 1991 when Carlos was only 9 years old. He graduated with a degree in Computer Engineering with minors in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Spanish, and after being approved for DACA, now works at IBM. Video of Durbin telling Carlos’ story is available here.


Carlos and Rafael Robles were brought to the United States when they were children. After Carlos graduated from Loyola with a major in education, he worked as a teacher at a public high school in Chicago. Carlos is now attending graduate school at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, where he is studying education policy. Since receiving DACA, Rafael has been a full-time student while also working at Studio Gang Architects, an award-winning architecture firm in Chicago. Video of Durbin telling Carlos and Rafael’s story is available here.


More information about these Dreamers’ stories – and the stories of every Dreamer Durbin has spoken about on the Senate Floor – is available here.