Denisse Rojas, 26, was brought to the U.S. from Mexico City illegally by her parents when she was 10 months old. She grew up in Fremont, California, and says she loves America – but everything she is fighting for is for other illegal immigrants.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]CNN: She not only went on to become the first undocumented student to attend the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, she has also made it possible for thousands of other undocumented students to attend medical schools all across the U.S. “I want to be able to provide the care that I had limited access to growing up — and to change policy,” she said.[/pullquote]
In a written documentary by CNN under “My American Success Story”, Rojas describes growing up in America as an illegal immigrant, with her family constantly fearing deportation, and watched her parents grieve with family members passed away in Mexico and they couldn’t go back for the funeral.
“The scariest time was during the holidays,” said Rojas. “If there was a DUI check, my parents could be jailed and deported for driving without a license.”
When Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in 2012, Rojas was able to get health insurance, a driver’s license, have assurance she would not be deported, and enter medical school. Financial aid was a hurdle, but she eventually obtained loans.
She has created a website designed to guide other illegal aliens through the process of applying for college and securing financial aid, and she has pressured colleges until one by one, they have started accepting “undocumented” students.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]CNN: Rojas and her advocacy group, Pre-Health Dreamers, also joined California State Senator Ricardo Lara, to successfully lobby for the passage of Senate Bill 1159, which allows undocumented Californians to get professional licenses. It not only helps medical professionals, but gardeners, hair stylists, builders and anyone else that needs a license to operate legally or to become bonded and insured.[/pullquote]
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