[This week’s guest post is written by Isabella, an undocumented physician who has studied, worked hard and persevered in this country ever since she arrived here from Mexico. Visit Dreamactivist.org to find out how you can help get involved in the struggle to give students and professionals like Isabella an opportunity to contribute to this country].
I am a Physician from Mexico, and I came to this country with the hope to practice Medicine. I moved to this country because I married a wonderful man who was living here for many years but living out of status.
I tried to get my license as a Physician, but I discovered that I needed to learn English in order to apply for it. In a while, I got my license as a Nursing Assistant, and I worked like that to support my husband with some income. During that time a friend of mine told me about the Physician Assistant program. This is a profession where we work as a medical provider, but with the training of two years. Of course, we must have a medical background.
So I got information about that, and I went back to school to get my prerequisites for the PA program. At that time I was working in a city that was 50 min north of my town. And the only choice if I wanted to get my prerequisites soon, was to go to school that was 30 minutes south of my house. I was working from 12 -8 pm at the clinic, and I was taking classes from 8-10 am. I woke up at 6 am to be ready for school. After school, I drove 90 min to my job and left the clinic at 8 pm. After this long day, I would study and have everything ready for the next day. This time was the most difficult because of the schedule, and because I was pregnant.
Every time that I remember this I can’t avoid to cry because I remember that at the end of the day I was exhausted. And I knew that my baby too. When he was moving a lot, I talked to him, telling him that everything we do was for him and for the future of our family. Finally, I got my prerequisites and I was accepted to the program.
When I was working as a nursing assistant, I met a senior high student at the clinic that I worked for. His mom took him to the clinic because he had severe depression. When I asked the reason why he was there, he started crying like a little baby. Then his mom told me that he didn’t eat and he was crying all day. She was looking for help because she doesn’t know what to do. She explained to me that he was the best student in his class but because he was undocumented, he could not continue studying. The reality that he was the best student and could not continue studying was killing him.
After the provider saw him, she came to the office and ask everyone what else we could do to help him beside the medications. The real solution was to find a way that he could continue his education, but at that moment we didn’t have information of the organization that offered help for undocumented students. After that day I never saw him again. I hope that he found the way to continue his education. I do not understand why people with such talent and intelligence can’t continue studying just because they are undocumented, especially when many American citizens and legal residents cannot even finish high school.
As a family we made a lot of sacrifices. Contrary to misperceptions about undocumented immigrants on welfare, I did not receive any help from the government. I paid the school with our savings and help from friends and family. I graduated last year. I had an award during the graduation ceremony, but this is not enough to get a job. I received many job offers but as soon that they found out that I need a visa they denied the offer.
Practicing medicine is what I love and like me, I am sure there are many others that want to serve this country and make it strong. We had a lot of challenges to get an education in this country. What we need is an opportunity to demonstrate that we can contribute to the greatness of America. You are the only one that can help us. Please call your senators and representatives and tell them to support immigration reform.
(Photo Credit:a.drian’s photostream)