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Loyola Supports the Dream Act of 2019

May 16, 2019

Dear Loyola Community,

Recently, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin introduced the Dream Act of 2019, in partnership with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. The Dream Act would allow immigrant students who were brought to the United States as minors and grew up here to earn lawful permanent residency and, eventually, American citizenship. 

Senator Durbin has been fighting for this legislation for 18 years, and Loyola University Chicago is grateful to him for being such a determined champion for our undocumented students. We have about 150 undocumented students currently enrolled at Loyola, including more than 30 students at the Stritch School of Medicine. The policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been officially rescinded; pending the resolution of several circuit court decisions, it has never been more important for the U.S. Congress to pass the Dream Act. This legislation provides a path to citizenship for these students and enables them to pursue their degrees and professions.

This is an important piece of legislation not just for immigrants and their families but for all of us across the nation. As a Jesuit, Catholic institution, Loyola believes in the dignity of each person and in advancing equity and social justice. These students and young people like them are woven into the fabric of our communities. They are our future doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, business owners, and leaders who will join us in lifting up the most marginalized in our world. Loyola is committed to their success.

Aaima Sayed (SSOM ’18) is an example of someone whose legal status is currently in jeopardy. Aaima is presently in the second year of a four-year psychiatry residency program at Loyola University Health System. She was born in Pakistan and brought to the United States when she was only 3 years old. Raised in Illinois, Aaima graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University in New Jersey and scored in the ninetieth percentile on her MCATs.

Aaima’s enrollment at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine was made possible through loans from the Illinois Finance Authority, which paid for her tuition. As part of her loan agreement, Aaima will practice psychiatry in an underserved area of Illinois for four years—one year for every year of her loan. Illinois faces a critical shortage of medical professionals, and Aaima is committed to addressing this statewide need. None of her accomplishments and future contributions are possible without the protections afforded by DACA or the Dream Act. Without these, she cannot practice medicine or even take her medical board exams. The underserved communities in Illinois that might have benefited from her practice would also suffer without the protections offered by the Dream Act of 2019.

I encourage members of the Loyola community to contact your hometown Congressperson and U.S. Senators. Please help persuade them to take action by passing the Dream Act of 2019. To find your representative and senators and their contact information, click here.

Your voice can make a difference, especially when joined with others on this important issue. As always, thank you for everything you do on behalf of Loyola and our students.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President