Ilana Panich-Linsman

In Matamoros, Mexico, thousands of people seeking asylum in the U.S. are stranded in a squalid encampment. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, living conditions in the overcrowded tent city were dangerous. Cartels operate with impunity. The lack of sanitation and exposure to the elements spread illness. Families have grown desperate and drowned trying to swim to Texas.

In a sea of despair, a Cuban doctor is a ray of hope. Dairon Elisondo Rojas, himself an asylum seeker, provides lifesaving care amid the continued effects of the Trump Administration’s inhumane immigration policy. He and his girlfriend trekked across Latin America to escape political persecution after he courageously criticized the Maduro regime while working in Venezuela. Forced to remain in Mexico as an American judge decides his fate, Elisondo Rojas saw a sign that said Médico and asked, “How can I help?” He now helps mothers hear their baby’s heartbeat for the first time and treats up to 50 patients every day, mostly children.

Elisondo Rojas aspires to practice medicine in the U.S. and to contribute his skills to our nation like generations of immigrants before him—but he can only help if we let him.

Castro is a Democratic Congressman from Texas

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