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TheDream.US Spotlights Healthcare Graduates: “Joon,” a DACA Recipient Working in a Private Surgery Practice in NYC

For Immediate Release: April 24, 2020

Contact: Michael Earls: [email protected]


TheDream.US Spotlights Healthcare Graduates: “Joon,” a DACA Recipient Working in a Private Surgery Practice in NYC

“This pandemic does not discriminate. This is human versus biological disease and we must team up together …”

Washington, DC – As the nation struggles with COVID-19 response and containment, TheDream.US offers a special note of gratitude to our Graduates who are working in healthcare and on the front lines of the pandemic response. For the rest of this week, we will highlight former TheDream.US Scholars working in healthcare.

Today, we highlight the story of “Joon,” a DACA recipient and former TheDream.US Scholar who lives in New York City and works in a private ambulatory surgery practice affiliated with a hospital.

“At my job, we deal with patients who need procedures and surgeries done away from the hospital. Many of these patients are very sick and elderly. Since COVID-19 can be asymptomatic as well, we take all the precautions necessary at my job. Throughout this pandemic, we have received calls that some of our patients are positive and/or passed away from the virus. I believe facilities such as ourselves have helped decrease hospital admissions and helped our community overcome diseases while limiting exposure to the COVID-19.

This pandemic does not discriminate. This is human versus biological disease, we must team up together to overcome our obstacles so that we can resume our normal lives. During my high school career, I participated in the JROTC cadet program which helped me view the importance of helping my community and the country that I live in. To be honest, I always wanted to join West Point due to the influence of JROTC, but due to my immigration status at the time I was not eligible.

But, perhaps that wasn’t meant to be because now as a DREAMer, I am helping my community beyond what I imagined. I just recently graduated Magna Cum Laude with my bachelor’s degree in Health Science with the help of TheDream.US scholarship. I further plan to expand my education and dreams and become a physician’s assistant. I hope one day as a PA, I can improve my community and set an example for the next generation.”


Earlier, TheDream.US highlighted the stories of “Lucia,” a lab technician in Atlanta, “Veronica,” a care coordinator for a Phoenix medical group, and Sol and Grace, who are now working as nurses – each one of the 27,000 DACA recipients who work in health care. Watch a 2-minute video of Sol’s story here and read more about Grace here,“Lucia” here, and “Veronica” here.

This week’s focus on additional healthcare graduates’ stories comes after the Supreme Court granted a motion on behalf of DACA recipients to accept a supplemental brief that highlights the contributions of the DACAmented workforce in healthcare and other frontline fields. As the supplemental brief notes, “Healthcare providers on the frontlines of our nation’s fight against COVID-19 rely significantly upon DACA recipients to perform essential work. Approximately 27,000 DACA recipients are healthcare workers—including nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physician assistants, home health aides, technicians, and other staff—and nearly 200 are medical students, residents, and physicians.”

The supplemental brief also quotes the following excerpt from an amicus brief filed by Association of American Medical Colleges and 32 allied organizations last fall: “The country [is not] prepared to fill the loss that would result if DACA recipients were excluded from the health care workforce…To ensure health security, the country needs a robust health workforce. Rescinding DACA, however, would deprive the public of domestically educated, well-trained, and otherwise qualified health care professionals.”


About TheDream.US

TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, having provided more than 5,000 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC. We believe that all young people, regardless of where they were born, should have the opportunity to obtain a college education, pursue a meaningful career, and fully contribute to the country that they call home.

Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here