Durbin Continues Fight For The Passage Of The Dream Act

WASHINGTON — Following yesterday’s introduction of the bipartisan Dream Act of 2019, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today came to the Senate floor to call on Republican leaders in the Senate to pass this important legislation.  Introduced with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the bipartisan Dream Act would allow immigrant students who were brought here as children and grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship.

“They’ve [Dreamers] never known another country.  They were just kids when they were brought here.  Shouldn’t we do the right thing in America, this nation of immigrants, this country of opportunity, this shining city on the hill?  Yes, we should,” Durbin said.  

Durbin first introduced the Dream Act nineteen years ago, and Graham and Durbin previously introduced the Dream Act of 2017.  The Dream Act was also included in the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill that Durbin and Graham coauthored part of the “Gang of Eight” – four Democrats and four Republicans.  The 2013 bill passed the Senate on a strong bipartisan vote of 68-32, but the Republican leadership of the House of Representative refused to consider it.

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.

Today, Durbin also shared the story of Karla Robles, who was only eight years old when she was brought to the United States from Mexico.  She is the 116th Dreamer whose story Durbin has told on the Senate floor.  When Karla started school in the 3rd grade, she didn’t speak a word of English.  But she worked hard and quickly became an excellent student.  In 7th grade, Karla received the American Legion Award, which was given to one boy and one girl in the class who, “are deemed most worthy of the high qualities of citizenship and of true Americanism.” 

In high school, Karla was a member of the National Honors Society and the President’s Club, and she was active in student government.  She also participated in TRUST, a mentoring program for younger students, and she was the captain and MVP of the varsity tennis team.  Karla received her associate’s degree from Harper College, and she is now a senior at Loyola University Chicago.  

During college, Karla has been on the National Honor Roll, and the Dean’s List.  She also volunteers with an outreach program for at-risk youth and with AmeriCorps VISTA, and she founded a tutoring program for elementary school students.  When she graduates this year, she will become a high school teacher in Chicago Public Schools.  She wants to pursue her Master’s Degree, and to eventually become a high school guidance counselor.