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Boston Cancer Researcher Concerned About Future of DACA

"I want nothing more than to be able to contribute meaningfully to a society [that] has already given me so much," Larios said

Dalia Larios has dreamed of being a doctor since she was a child.

"I wanted to help people every day and I wanted to find answers for the disease we didn't know about," Larios said.

But since President Donald Trump announced he was ending DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the fourth-year Harvard Medical School student and cancer researcher at Dana Farber, has been worried that dream will be stripped away.

The 28-year-old grew up in Arizona. Her parents brought her to the state from Mexico when she was just months old. She went to public school and then to Arizona State University for undergrad before she was accepted to Harvard.

"I feel this is my home, this is where I belong, and I would love it if others could understand that and the dilemma that lots of us face," Larios said.

Her DACA status allows her work on a 10-person research team headed by Cloud Paweletz, Ph.D. Dr. Paweletz notes that their work is not done, and if DACA ends and the team loses Larios, it would be a huge setback.

"It would affect the entire team, emotionally, on a human level. On a research level, you would lose resources, and having a team lose resources is always tough," said Paweletz.

Larios says her dream is to find a cure for cancer, and she hopes lawmakers will come up with a legislation fix that extends legal status for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants, many of whom were brought to the country illegally as children, so that she can help do that.

"I want nothing more than to be able to contribute meaningfully to a society [that] has already given me so much," she said.

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