Vermont's sole Congressman Peter Welch held a press conference on Monday, September 11, 2017 at the Larner College of Medicine to discuss the impact of the cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The decision to hold the event was prompted by a letter written to Representative Welch by first-year Larner College of Medicine student Juan Conde, a DACA recipient who was brought to the U.S. with his brother by his mother when he was nine years old.
UVM President Tom Sullivan, who last week announced he was among more than 600 presidents of public and private colleges and universities across the country who signed a statement in support of the DACA program, opened the press conference with a statement on the university's pledge to support and protect the identities of its DACA students.
Rep. Welch spoke after Sullivan, sharing his support for DACA beneficiaries like Conde, whose willingness to share his story helps paint a picture of the undocumented individuals in the U.S. who have up until last week been protected by DACA. In a September 12 post on his Facebook page, Rep. Welch said "I wish President Trump was with me yesterday at The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont to hear the inspiring and poignant story of first year medical student Juan Conde. Juan is a Dreamer who came to this country when he was 9 years old. Against all odds, he earned a PhD in biochemistry. DACA opened the door to medical school for him. Inspired by the tragic death of his mother from cancer, Juan hopes to one day find a cure to cancer and specialize in oncology. I am determined to help Juan and 800,000 Dreamers, including 42 in Vermont, remain in this country. We need their example, and we need the benefit of their contributions."
Conde shared his story following Rep. Welch's remarks (read his remarks here) and was followed by classmate Reed Hausser, who delivered a statement of support for Conde and other DACA students at UVM.
On September 7, Senator Patrick Leahy referenced Conde and his story while making a statement regarding DACA on the Senate floor. Read his statement.
Link to a list of news coverage from the press conference here.