#ImmigrantHealthHeroes: 12 Stories We Should All Share in Honor of National Nurses Week

We don’t need a special day to say thank you to heroes who have helped so critically in the face of coronavirus–nurses

Photo: @undocuprofessionals/Instagram

Photo: @undocuprofessionals/Instagram

We don’t need a special day to say thank you to heroes who have helped so critically in the face of coronavirus–nurses. Today is International Nurses Day and we wanted to take the opportunity to honor and shout out immigrant nurses who are true #ImmigrantHealthHeroes. These women and men are not only medical professionals who are tirelessly working to keep us safe, but they also shine as examples of why this country needs, and should thank its immigrant population. Here are 12 stories of immigrant nurses protecting all Americans, in a country they are an essential part of and that love as their own.


Daniel came to the United States from Korea as a child with his family. Today, he is 32 years old and an ICU nurse in New Jersey, treating coronavirus patients. Daniel is also a DREAMer, waiting to see if the Supreme Court rules in favor of his, and hundreds of thousands of other undocumented immigrants’ right to stay in the only country they truly know as their own.

Rosa Ruvacalba Serna

Hailing from Jalpan/Nochistlán, Zapatecas, Mexico, and living in Dallas, Rosa Ruvacalba Serna is a true inspiration. The 26-year-old is a DACA recipient who, while as a nursing student, was named Arkansas Nursing Student of the Year in 2019, and worked to pass legislation to allow DREAMers to become nurses. Today, Rosa Maria is ER nurse.

Marilyn Mara

Another immigrant nurse we are grateful for is Marilyn Mara. The public health nurse from the Philippines, who works in Santa Clara County, formed a union with her coworkers and isn’t afraid to stand up for Asian and nurses’ rights.

Hina Naveed

Hina Naveed is a DACA recipient who immigrated to the United States from Pakistan. She is currently a registered nurse, as well as a law student. Hina has spoken out on behalf of undocumented healthcare workers, stressing how important it is for these essential workers to be protected by the government.

Rony Ponthieux

Haitian immigrant and TPS holder Rony Ponthieux is another undocumented worker who is essential during the COVID-19 crisis–and beyond. He is currently working in Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida, and recently spoke with America’s Voice on being an undocumented healthcare worker, stating:

“I’ve been here for 21 years now, since 1999, and since 2006 I’ve been a nurse. I’m currently working for Jackson Memorial Hospital in a unit specialized for COVID-19. I put my life in danger and on the line to save American lives. All of my family is at risk because of me. My message to this administration, the Government, and Congress is to think about a fair treatment for TPS holders. Now is not the time to play games- we need real solutions.”

Jessica Esparza


Nurse and DACA recipient Jessica Esparza took to her Instagram to comment on how important immigrants are to this country. “Immigrant workers are essential,” she shared. “We deserve dignity, and justice. We are all essential.” Esparza wants everyone to stand behind policies that will give undocumented people like her a way to become legal residents, and encourages us to “speak out for all essential workers to have adequate PPE.”

Ana Laura Gonzalez

DREAMer and nurse Ana Laura Gonzalez used a long-used and very-tired false idea about immigrants to deliver a sassy and eye-opening message. “Some people say illegal immigrants come to the U.S. to ‘steal people’s jobs’…Aren’t you glad I ‘stole’ it?” Undocumented healthcare workers like Ana Laura aren’t stealing anything–they’re saving lives and adding to the healthcare force.

Alba Jean

Another Latinx healthcare worker to admire and thank is Alba Jean. The BSN is a dreamer who works in the ER and has been also studying for her NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination). While she hasn’t had time to celebrate her achievement, she stated on Instagram that “helping someone heal is a celebration every day!”


DREAMer Anna is a hero, who has stepped up to help her community of Las Vegas on several occasions. The pediatric ICU nurse was in the hospital when the Las Vegas shooting happened on October 1, 2017, and is there today to help the fight against COVID-19.

Luisana Pacheco

In Denver, Colorado, Luisana Pacheco is living and working undocumented. However, that hasn’t stopped her from helping the masses as first an EMT, and a soon-to-be nurse. When speaking to Summit Daily, Pacheco spoke about how immigrants naturally want to help give back to their country. “We want to be on the front lines helping out. That’s what we came to America to do. Our parents brought us when we were young…it’s a home we want to keep healthy and protect.”

Josue Tayub

Jose Tayub is an ER nurse at Del Sol Medical Center, in El Paso, Texas. The Quintana Roo is an undocumented hero, helping heal patients during coronavirus, having also aided those injured in the shooting in an El Paso Walmart last year. Like many, if not all undocumented healthcare workers, Tayub is doing his job, worried all the while that he could be soon deported. He told the Texas Tribune:

“So I got my [DACA] permit and then I got into nursing school, and the rest is history. If they decide to get rid of DACA, everything that I worked hard for is going to disappear. And I love working as a nurse. I love living here in the States. At some point I even wanted to join the Army, but I wasn’t able to because of my status.”

Aissatou Gueye

Sengal, West Africa is where Aissatou Gueye emigrated to the United States from. She is a nurse practitioner, and according to New American Economy, “on the frontlines of the Boston Medical Center Immigrant and Refugee Health Program.” Her experience as an immigrant in turn gives comfort to patients at Boston Medical who are also immigrants. This is a quality unique, special, and crucial that only immigrant healthcare workers like Gueye can provide.

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healthcare healthcare heroes immigrant nurses immigrants Latinx nurses National Nurses Day nurses
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