As the proud son of an immigrant, Senator Durbin believes that immigration makes America great. Senator Durbin serves as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator Durbin first introduced the Dream Act in 2001, which is bipartisan legislation that would give young immigrants who grew up in this country a path to citizenship. For the last several years, Senator Durbin has gone to the Floor of the U.S. Senate more than 100 times to tell the stories of Dreamers, who are the future doctors, engineers, teachers, and soldiers who will make this country stronger. A study by the Center for American Progress found that passing the Dream Act would add at least $281 billion and as much as $1 trillion to the American economy in just one decade. In Illinois, passage of the Dream Act would add up to $4 billion per year to Illinois’ GDP.
In 2010, Senator Durbin and a Republican colleague were the first members of Congress to call for the establishment of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to protect Dreamers from deportation. In 2011, Senator Durbin led 22 Senators in urging the President to suspend the deportations of Dreamers. DACA has unleashed the potential of Dreamers, who are contributing to our country as soldiers, engineers, public school teachers, small business owners, and civil rights advocates.
In February 2021, twenty years after he first introduced the Dream Act, Senator Durbin introduced the Dream Act of 2021, which would allow immigrant students without lawful status who were brought here as children and grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship. Senator Durbin is working with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to make the Dream Act the law of the land.
Senator Durbin was a member of the “Gang of Eight”—four Democrats and four Republicans—who authored comprehensive immigration reform legislation that passed the Senate on a strong bipartisan vote of 68-32 in 2013. This bill would have strengthened border security, provided a path to citizenship for Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants with deep roots in this country, established new protections for American workers, and cleared the backlog of legal immigrants who have been waiting years for green cards.