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Medical students in limbo as young immigrant program ends

Zarna Patel (Photo: AP)

Zarna Patel (Photo: AP)

CHICAGO – Medical student Alejandra Duran Arreola dreams of becoming an OB-GYN in her home state of Georgia, where there’s a shortage of doctors and one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the U.S.
But the 26-year-old Mexican immigrant’s goal is now trapped in the debate over a program protecting hundreds of thousands of immigrants like her from deportation. Whether she becomes a doctor depends on whether Congress finds an alternative to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Donald Trump phased out last month.
Zarna Patel, 24, is a third-year student at Loyola who was brought to the U.S. from India as a 3-year-old without any legal documents. Her DACA permit expires in January, and she’s trying to renew it so she can continue medical school rotations that require clinical work. If she’s able to work in U.S., Patel will work in disadvantaged areas of Illinois for four years, part of her agreement to get school loans.
“Growing up, I didn’t have insurance,” she said. “I knew what that felt like, being locked out of the whole system.”
For others, there’s added worry of being stuck with debt they can’t repay.
(-VOA News)


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