The Republicans, it seems, are determined to drive their respectability and electability into the ground. Three times 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. How many more failed votes will Republicans push for? Will they accept that three strikes means they’re out?
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 third vote to bring up the DHS bill, Sen. Durbin told the story of Everardo, who was brought to the US when he was seven years old.
Everardo grew up in Costa Mesa, California and dreamed of becoming a physician. He was an excellent student and he was accepted at the University of California Riverside. Because of his immigration status, Everardo didn’t qualify for any federal assistance. When Everardo was a sophomore, he met with a counselor who told him he had almost no chance of becoming a doctor, because he was undocumented.
Everardo didn’t give up on his dream. In 2012, he graduated from the University of California Riverside with a chemistry major with research honors. After he received DACA, Everardo worked for a year as a mentor for at-risk children in his hometown of Costa Mesa. The following year, through Americorps, Everardo worked as a health educator with seven local clinics. He gave classes to hundreds of people, in both English and Spanish, on topics ranging from diabetes to family nutrition to depression.
During his year as a health educator, Everardo applied to and was accepted to medical school. He is currently in his first year at the Loyola School of Medicine. In his free time, he volunteers at a local clinic where he provides medical care to the uninsured and underinsured. He also takes time out every week to teach medical Spanish to some of his classmates so they can better serve their future patients.
Everardo wrote Senator Durbin a letter, and here is what he said about DACA:
DACA changed my life. It opened the door to the future ahead of me. If it weren’t for DACA I would not be here and I probably would not have pursued medicine. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love to do and to give back to my country.
Watch Sen. Durbin speak about Everardo on the Senate floor: