Faces of Dreamers: Rosa Ruvalcaba Serna, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

August 20, 2019

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This is one in a series of posts on individual Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as young children, many of whom are under threat of deportation following the Trump administration’s decision in September 2017 to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA.

Since she was a little girl, Rosa Ruvalcaba Serna dreamed of helping others. The October 2017 night she participated in a white coat ceremony marked a major step toward reaching that goal, the beginning of her clinical training to become a nurse.

But Rosa, a Dreamer who was brought to the United States from Mexico when she was six, discovered that very night that the Arkansas State Board of Nursing had begun denying nursing licenses to DACA recipients. And with that, “my happiness evaporated,” she wrote in Glamour. last month.

But that obstacle did not derail her from pursuing her dream. Her advocacy about the plight of Dreamer nursing students caught the attention of an Arkansas state legislator, who drafted a bipartisan bill seeking to allow Dreamers to take the licensing exam. It passed the legislature and was signed into law in April by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

“After all, DACA is really a way to allow Dreamers to contribute to their communities,” Rosa wrote. “We aren’t American on paper, but we’re American in our hearts and souls, and we’re united by a desire to give something back.”

She added, “For me, that means putting on my white coat and going to work as a licensed nurse, taking care of patients here in the United States. I won’t have much longer to wait. Next December I’ll take the nursing exam and start serving my community.”

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