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Sen. Durbin Lifts Up Story of Aaima, DREAMer and Future Physician, on Senate Floor

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Earlier this month, House Republicans made funding for the Department of Homeland Security contingent on overturning DACA and DAPA — and now they’re waiting for Senate Republicans to do the same.  More than half a million DACA-mented young people in the last two years have flourished as a result of being able to legally work and drive — but Republicans are now trying to take that all away, on threat of national security funding for the entire nation.

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 began debate on the DHS funding bill, Sen. Durbin told the story of Aaima, who was brought to the US from Pakistan when she was 3 years old.

Aaima grew up in Chicago like a typical American kid.  Aaima says, “I have no memories but those of living in the United States; I am an American in every way, except on paper.”

Aaima graduated in the top 10% of her high school class, where she was secretary of the Spanish Club, Secretary of the Math Team, and a member of the National Society of High School Scholars.  Aaima’s dream was to become a physician.  She says, “It completely breaks my heart to see thousands of children die of treatable diseases due to inadequate basic health care facilities, and I want to have the skills and ability to change that.”

In January 2012, Aaima graduated from Rutgers University magna cum laude with a major in psychology.  She was on the Dean’s list six times and had a grade point average of 3.75 out of 4.  She was a research assistant at the Rutgers Department of Psychology, and an intern with a local cardiology practice.  Aaima scored in the 90th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test.

Because of DACA, Aaima is now a medical student at Loyola University — the only medical school in the nation which is accepting DACA recipients — pursuing her dream of becoming a physician.  After she graduates, she will work in a medically-underserved area of Illinois.  In a letter to Sen. Durbin, Aaima explained DACA’s impact on her:  “I went from feeling hopeless and full of uncertainty regarding my future to feeling confident and optimistic that I will one day get the opportunity to help my community and people in other poverty-stricken areas.”

If the House Republicans have their way, Aaima won’t be able to attend medical school, or become a doctor.  Instead, she will be deported back to Pakistan, a country where she hasn’t lived since she was a toddler.

Watch Sen. Durbin speak about Aaima on the Senate floor: