Yuni Reada’s desire to study nursing is a noble one (“DACA end may doom ‘Dreamer’ college goal,” Sept. 6). She feels frustrated as a Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipient, because the program is ending.
As a retired registered nurse, I am fully supportive of anyone wanting to pursue a career in this profession, which for many years has experienced a shortage. And in the future, as more nurses retire, the need will be greater. For the past 30 years I worked in hospitals in Virginia and California, where I witnessed the staffing shortages being supplemented by agencies and traveling nurse organizations.
Currently there are 10 states that have addressed professional licenses for DACA recipients. As of January 2017, these are the states: California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, South Dakota, Vermont. If there are any more, I’m not aware. I was also struck by reading online of DACA graduates of nursing programs attempting to take the required exam and being told that they were unqualified due to their status. Even if you complete the required curriculum to become an R.N., many states do not allow DACA recipients to become licensed practitioners.
Rather than blaming the president for ending a program that was only meant to be temporary, it would be better to have in place some real legislation. Congress should do what they failed to do in 2012 — pass a DREAM Act once and for all.
Give these young adults a path to citizenship. If they have been working, pursuing educational goals, and have proven that they respect the laws of our nation, then we all will benefit if they can truly be participating citizens. They will get better wages and they will get into professions that have a critical shortage, like nursing and medicine. We will all be better for it.
Mary Arner is a retired registered nurse who worked for more than 40 years in cities and states across the country. She lives in Eagle.