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Sen. Durbin Shares the Story of Ola Kaso 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 he told the story of Ola Kaso, a DREAMer from Albania.

Ola was brought by her mother from Albania to the US when she was five years old.  In high school, she took every Advanced Placement class offered by her school and had a 4.4 GPA.  She was treasurer of the student council and the school National Honor Society.  She graduated as valedictorian of her class.  In 2011, Ola testified at Sen. Durbin’s hearing on the DREAM Act, becoming the first undocumented immigrant ever to testify in the Senate. 

After DACA was established, Ola worked as an intern for Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI).  This spring, Ola will graduate from the University of Michigan’s honors program with a double major in biochemistry and women’s studies.  Ola is also conducting research at the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences; her work was published last year in the Journal of Physical Chemistry.  Next, Ola plans to attend medical school and become a doctor.  As Ola said recently:

I aspire to ultimately become a surgical oncologist, but more importantly, I intend to work for patients that cannot afford the astronomical fees accompanying life-saving surgeries, patients that are denied the medical treatment they deserve.  My goal is not to increase my bank account; my goal is to decrease preventable deaths.  I wish to remain in this country to make a difference.

If it were up to House Republicans, however, Ola will never become a doctor.  Instead, she’ll be deported back to Albania.  As Sen. Durbin said about this injustice and the danger of tying such a foolish plan to the DHS funding bill:

It is shameless to play politics with the lives of these young people, who grew up in this country and know no other home. It is just as shameless for House Republicans to put homeland security funding at risk to pursue their radical agenda.

So what are these policies that the House Republicans feel so strongly about that they’re willing to put our homeland security funding at risk?…The House Republicans feel so strongly about deporting Dreamers that they are willing to hold our homeland security funding hostage.

Watch Sen. Durbin speaking about Ola below: