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Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 23, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Student held back by legal status

Acceptance practices must change

Simon Mendoza graduated from the University of Washington. He teaches medical and dental summer students how to take blood pressure. Mendoza hopes to attend medical school at the UW, but the School of Medicine, like other medical schools across the country, has a policy against accepting students who entered the country illegally. That leaves the 22-year-old, whose parents brought him to the U.S. when he was an infant, with few options for fulfilling his dream.

Simon Mendoza graduated from the University of Washington. He teaches medical and dental summer students how to take blood pressure. Mendoza hopes to attend medical school at the UW, but the School of Medicine, like other medical schools across the country, has a policy against accepting students who entered the country illegally. That leaves the 22-year-old, whose parents brought him to the U.S. when he was an infant, with few options for fulfilling his dream.

It is unfortunate to see how limiting our educational institutions can be for individuals who cannot control their own circumstances. [“UW dream beyond his reach,” NW Monday, July 15.]

Simon Mendoza has been at the mercy of unforgiving medical schools due to his legal status, even though his choice in immigration was impossible.

These unfair acceptance practices, which discriminate against individuals who have the skill and talent imperative for a field such as medicine, should be reanalyzed and reconstituted in view of academic qualifications, not a status that ultimately has no educational merit.

Systems like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), recognized at Loyola University in Chicago, should be employed by other schools.

Because there are other children like Mendoza, who arrived with their parents when they were too young understand or control the ramifications, it is vital that we work alongside them to give them the opportunity that they deserve to have.

Emily Kassebaum, Renton

Comments | More in Education, Seattle | Topics: education, illegal, immigrant

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