NEW YORK – Denisse Rojas Marquez said without an immigration plan that the Obama administration released three years ago, granting her temporary residential status in the United States, she would not be in medical school today.
Marquez was honored on Sept. 17 at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the class of 2019’s White Coat Ceremony, a traditional welcoming event in which first-year medical students recite an oath and are given white doctor’s coats by notable members of the school’s faculty. Marquez and her fellow student, Jamil Reja, are the school’s first undocumented students ever to receive white coats. With uncertain futures, Marquez and Reja both say they hope to continue learning and eventually practicing medicine in the U.S. While their stories are unique – as not every undocumented person is able to receive higher education – Marquez and Reja said their upbringings are relatable for the estimated 11.3 million immigrants living in the United States without official citizenship.