The Republicans, it seems, are determined to drive their respectability and electability into the ground. Twice now this week, they have pushed for votes on the DHS funding bill passed by the House, which unfortunately contains riders that would end DACA and DAPA — maximizing the deportations of DREAMers and immigrant parents. National security funding is too important to risk, but that’s where Senate Republicans are making their stand anyway.
Sen. Dick Durbin has been taking to the Senate floor to explain just what a giant mistake Republicans are making. He’s been lifting up DACA stories — the successes of young immigrants across the nation who are living the American Dream because of executive action. Today, just before the Senate took their second vote to bring up the DHS bill, Sen. Durbin told the story of Pablo, who was brought to the US from Brazil in 2001.
Pablo grew up in New Jersey and said this about his childhood:
The same as every other kid growing up in the U.S., I attended middle school, pledged allegiance to the American flag, and sang the National Anthem. As I grew older, I came to understand that one thing about me differed from my classmates. I was undocumented. However, my parents always taught me to see barriers as a measure of perseverance and an opportunity to thrive.
Pablo was an excellent student and he dreamed of becoming a doctor. During high school and college, Pablo volunteered at a nursing home every week. He also was a member of a group called “Doctor Red Nose.” Pablo and the other members of this group would dress up as clowns and visit hospitals, nurses and nursing homes to cheer up the patients and health care providers.
Pablo was accepted at Rutgers University, but because he was undocumented, he didn’t qualify for any financial aid or in-state tuition. As a result, Pablo couldn’t afford to attend Rutgers, and instead, he enrolled in community college. Because he had taken college courses when he was in high school, Pablo was able to complete a two-year associate’s degree in only one year. Pablo then transferred to Kean University, and in 2011 he graduated at the top of his class with a major in biology summa cum laude. He received an award for the highest grade point average in the biology department. He was on the Dean’s list every semester of college and was a member of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi.
After graduating from college, Pablo was unable to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. Instead, he worked in a variety of manual labor jobs. That changed after President Obama established DACA. Last fall, Pablo da Silva began medical school at Loyola University Chicago, where he is pursuing his dream of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. Pablo said this about DACA:
DACA has allowed me to fulfill my long-lasting aspiration to pursue a career in medicine. It has truly changed my future and for that I’m truly grateful. I’m eager to contribute my share to the country I call my own.
Watch Sen. Durbin speak about Pablo’s story below: