Durbin: Congress Has A Responsibility To Do Its Job And Make Dream Act The Law Of The Land

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) 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. 

During his speech, Durbin shared the story of one Dreamer – William Medeiros, who was only six years old when his family moved to the United States from Brazil.  In high school, he was an honors student and graduated with a 3.8 GPA.  He was also an athlete, playing on his high school’s soccer and football teams.  William is now a student at the University of Central Florida, where he has a 3.5 GPA.  He will graduate in the spring of 2019 with his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.  William’s dream is to enlist in the military, and then, after serving his country, to become an officer with his local police department.  Thanks to DACA, William is on the way to fulfilling his dream.  Last year, he enlisted in the Army through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program.  The MAVNI program allows immigrants with skills that are “vital to the national interest” to enlist in the Armed Forces.  More than 800 DACA recipients with these critical skills have joined the military through MAVNI.

“William, along with many Dreamers, is now waiting to ship to basic training.  He is working full-time, waiting for his chance to serve.  He wrote me a letter.  Here’s what he said: ‘My desire to serve this nation and help people, to pay back my dues for everything I have received from this great country, and to lead by example by showing my fellow DACA members that anything is possible with hard work, perseverance, and dedication.’  Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that this young man, William, desperate to serve our country and to be a law enforcement officer will be an asset to the United States?  A source of pride for all of us?  Of course not.  If DACA goes away and is not replaced, if this young man loses that opportunity, America will lose an opportunity and part of its future,” 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.