Durbin Calls On Congress To Pass The Dream Act By The End Of The Year

WASHINGTON—Following the Trump Administration’s announcement on September 5, 2017 that it will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) again came to the Senate floor today to call on Republican leaders in Congress to bring the bipartisan Dream Act to the floor for a vote before the end of the year. 

During his speech, Durbin shared the story of one Dreamer – Cesar Montelongo, who was ten years old when his family came to the United States from Mexico.  He grew up in New Mexico, where his academic prowess was quickly apparent.  Cesar graduated high school with a Grade Point Average above 4.0, and he was ranked third in his class.  Cesar went on to New Mexico State University, where he was a triple major in biology, microbiology, and Spanish; as well as two minors in chemistry and biochemistry.  Cesar graduated with distinction in the honors track with a 3.9 GPA.  Cesar then earned a Master’s degree in biology, with a minor in molecular biology, while also working as a teaching assistant.  Today, Cesar is the first DACA student enrolled in the MD-PhD program at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.  He is entering his third year of this highly competitive program, and upon completion he will receive a medical degree and a doctorate degree in science.

“Cesar’s dream for the future?  To become a practicing physician and a scientist, and to develop new and improved clinical diagnostic tools so that doctors can diagnose and treat diseases better.  Close to 70 Dreamers are enrolled in medical schools around the United States.  Why is DACA important to him?  Any student like him who is in a medical school today, who wants to go on to a residency, has to be able to work.  Residents work long hours in hospitals while they’re learning.  If he didn’t have DACA, he wouldn’t have legal permission, legal authority to work in this country.  Why in the world would we let this young man’s vigorous pursuit for education and brilliance be wasted?  We need him.  We need him in Chicago.  We need him in Illinois.  We need him in America,” said Durbin.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here. 

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

In July, Durbin and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the bipartisan Dream Act, which would allow immigrant students who grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship. These young people, known as Dreamers, have lived in America since they were children, built their lives here, and are American in every way except for their immigration status.