June 14, 2022

Durbin Questions DACA Recipient in Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Immigration

Hearing comes one day before the 10th anniversary of DACA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned Dalia Larios, a resident at Harvard’s Radiation Oncology Program and the first DACA recipient to be admitted to Harvard Medical School, at the “Strengthening our Workforce and Economy through Higher Education and Immigration” Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety hearing. The hearing comes one day before the tenth anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Durbin had previously shared Dr. Larios’ story on the Senate floor in 2018.  Four years later, Dr. Larios still relies on DACA to be able to pursue her oncology residency program and treat patients.  Dr. Larios completed five years of medical school at Harvard and is now in a five-year residency program, after receiving her undergraduate degree in biology summa cum laude.  Durbin highlighted the stakes in letting this incredible talent and dedication go to waste if she is not provided the chance to continue her profession in the United States, her home.

“Worst case scenario, no citizenship, is there a bar to you actually being licensed to practice medicine in the state of Massachusetts?” Durbin asked.

Dr. Larios confirmed that without DACA, she would not qualify for a medical license in Massachusetts. Durbin reiterated that Congress needs to enshrine DACA into law so that individuals like Dr. Larios do not go through years of medical school only to have their medical licenses revoked.

While the hearing explored the challenges international students and undocumented students in the U.S. face in seeking higher education and obtaining work following graduation, Durbin also discussed the importance of immigrants to our nation without a college degree.

Durbin continued, “There are many immigrants who come to this country without a college degree or the likelihood that they’ll earn one. We still need them. There are so many jobs in this country we need to fill and many of them Americans don’t rush to fill them… they could be an important part of this country. I say that with some prejudice. I know a story of an immigrant who was brought here at the age of two who obviously had no skills to offer but she did become a pretty inspiring mother to this Senator. So if you close the door and say just college graduates, I think is to ignore the obvious. We need a good, strong workforce, and that workforce if it does its job well, is going to raise the next generation of college graduates.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here for TV Stations. 

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