By Cesar Montelongo
(These remarks were delivered at a rally of the Stritch School of Medicine student to support their DACA recipient colleagues on September 6, 2017.)
My name is Cesar, I am a DACA recipient and a third year student in the Loyola MD-PhD program, training to be a physician and a scientist.
In 2011 I graduated college with three degrees, two minors, and honors. Months prior to my graduation, the Dream Act failed to pass in Congress. This was a life changing event: Had the Dream Act passed, I could have applied to medical school. Instead I was left stranded, unable to exercise my college degrees, much less attend medical school. For over a year I struggled, my only hope being that some unforeseen chance would appear…
DACA gave me that chance. It allowed me to work while I completed a Master’s degree in biology. It allowed me to apply to medical school, and be admitted as an MD-PhD student, one of the most competitive graduate positions in the nation.
I want to contribute to society directly as a clinician and through the results of my scientific research. My dream is to develop diagnostic tools that will improve healthcare for everyone in this country.
But right now, my future is uncertain. Without the protection that DACA brings, it is not clear what will happen to the nearly 800,000 people in this country who will begin to expire out of the program in March. But I still have hope, in Congress, and the compassion of the people of this nation. My heart burns with the passion to make this country even greater, and I humbly ask to be given the chance to do so.
Cesar Montelongo is in his third year of the MD-PhD program at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. You can learn more about Cesar’s attempt to gain a path to citizenship by reading his essay “As an Undocumented Immigrant, It’s Easier to Get My MD-PhD Than a U.S. Visa.” He hopes you’ll contact your elected representatives to support the DREAM Act of 2017