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SACNAS Celebrates Supreme Court Decision to Uphold DACA, Calls on the United States Senate to Pass American Dream and Promise Act

800,000 Eligible Dreamers Must Be Given A Path to Citizenship

SANTA CRUZ, CA — Dr. Sonia I. Zárate, President of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) issued the following statement in celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

“SACNAS is grateful to the Supreme Court for its decision to review the current administration’s decision to rescind DACA and its finding that the administration’s decision to end the program was not justified. While this decision is a stay that enables 650,000 current DACA recipients to live, study, and work in the United States, it does not stop the administration from providing additional justification to support the 2017 decision to end the DACA program.  

This anti-immigrant agenda during the worst public health crisis in history leaves the fate of Dreamers at the mercy of the current and future administrations. DACA recipients and Dreamers are a critical part of the American STEM community, including serving as essential healthcare workers. 

We call on the U.S. Senate to pass the American Dream and Promise Act immediately so that Dreamers across the country have a path to citizenship that will allow them to continue contributing to our communities and country without biannual DACA renewals or fear of deportation.”

At SACNAS, our undocumented members have their own stories to share about how they are contributing to STEM innovation. Following are the biographies of SACNAS spokespersons available for interviews. Coordinate an interview by contacting Yamila Pino at yamila@prosperolatino.com or 202-440-1432.

SACNAS Member Available for Interview

Christopher Ponce

Christopher Ponce Campuzano is a medical student studying at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine. Before medical school, Christopher worked with medically complex children in Oregon to establish behavioral and medical changes around their health care that will benefit them in the future as they transition into independence. After spending several years advocating for the less fortunate, Christopher recognizes the importance of providing individuals in need an opportunity to develop and progress in life without unfair limitations, regardless of background. More specifically, Christopher has not only invested himself in pediatrics, but has also served as a spokesperson for undocumented immigrants across the country. As a DACA student, Christopher acknowledges the many barriers faced by students like himself and has gone to set up a dream center at his university and has begun to expand this program at other institutions.

SACNAS Official Spokesperson

Dr. Sonia Zárate, SACNAS President

Sonia Zárate, received her BS in Biology from Cal Poly Pomona and her PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from UC Riverside. As a graduate student and a postdoc she studied how plants perceive and respond to infestation and infection at the molecular level. Dr. Zárate’s long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM includes her work as a Program Officer for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and in her role as President of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). As the fourth woman to lead SACNAS in its 45-year history and the first President to have benefitted from SACNAS since she was an undergraduate, Dr. Zárate is committed to continuing to lead national efforts to ensure that science is able to benefit from the potential that a diverse scientific workforce holds. Prior to her current appointment at HHMI, she was the Director for the Office of Undergraduate Research at the University of San Diego (USD) and the PI for an NSF-REU focused on transfer and veteran students and Co-PI for a UBE IUSE grant to enhance undergraduate biology education. Dr. Zárate also served as the Associate Director for the Undergraduate Research Center-Sciences at UCLA where she directed the NIH-MARC U-STAR, NIH-Bridges, NIH-IMSD, UC LEADS and the HHMI Undergraduate Research Fellows programs.

About SACNAS

For over 47 years, SACNAS has served as an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanics & Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership within STEM.

Today, the organization serves a growing community of over 20,000 supporters, 8,200+ members, and 115+ student and professional chapters throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. SACNAS influences the STEM diversity movement through STEM outreach & advocacy, promotion of STEM leaders, and The SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference.  Learn more about SACNAS at sacnas.org, Facebook, or Twitter.