“DACA changed my life overnight.”
Jose has lived in Napa since he was 5 years old. In search of safety and security, his family brought Jose and his brothers to the United States when he was two years old. When the Obama Administration announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, Jose could finally obtain a social security number, work authorization, and protection from deportation. He also obtained health and dental insurance through MediCAL and Denti-CAL.
Thanks to legal aid from the Immigration Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA), Jose has been able to successfully renew his DACA every two years as required by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
With DACA, he could apply for the private loans he needed to finally put himself through Dental School. Jose, who graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in molecular biology, had always dreamed of giving back to his hometown of Napa as a dentist.
“I want to give back to families that don’t have access to dental care or insurance, a lot like myself growing up,” Jose said.
Just this past month, Jose completed the last day of his Dentist Residency.
Jose plans to join a local community clinic where he can give back to the Napa Community and work with marginalized and underserved communities.
“It’s very surreal to have worked this long and hard to become a dentist, and now to have my dream finally be realized,” Jose said.