Med student says with DACA, she 'could finally breathe a sigh of relief.' Now her future is in limbo
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient Yazmin Irazoqui Ruiz said that “when Donald Trump killed DACA, my mental health was tenuous. Here I am, once again, having worked hard in medical school, and now facing the reality of my future career as a physician being pulled out from under me—and I know I’m not alone.”
The third-year medical student at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine was among 75 immigrants making an impassioned plea to congressional leaders on Wednesday, urging the passage of permanent protections for families affected by the Trump administration’s termination of the DACA, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs. Without something permanent, she faces an uncertain future, even though she’s called the U.S. her home since she was just 3 years old.
In her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Irazoqui Ruiz recounted how her family lived in fear of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s racist raids. While her younger brothers are U.S. citizens, her mom is not. The family’s move to New Mexico alleviated some of this fear, but she still faced the burden of trying to pursue higher education while being undocumented. Then DACA arrived in 2012.
“I could finally breathe a sigh of relief,” she said, and today she is close to her dream of specializing in women’s health. “While I am on my way to becoming a physician,” she continued, “I know that others with DACA, TPS, and DED protections have started careers, bought homes, started families.” She noted that program recipients are many things, from construction workers to home health aides to parents. “Here we are, facing that being taken away.”
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler listened intently as Irazoqui Ruiz said that, while Congress must act now, permanent legislation can’t come at the expense of vulnerable people like her mom. “Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I come before you today as the product of my community. So protecting me in exchange for increased danger for my community is not protection at all.”
These families deserve a chance to live here in safety and dignity. ”In my eyes, my mother, and all immigrant parents have made great sacrifices and taken risks so that their children can thrive,” Irazoqui Ruiz said. “They are the original dreamers.”
Call members of Congress at (202) 224-3121 and demand permanent protections for DACA, TPS, and DED recipients now.