Durbin Delivers Opening Statement At American Dream And Promise Act Judiciary Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement during “H.R.6, American Dream and Promise Act of 2021” Judiciary Committee Hearing. During his opening statement, Durbin highlighted the need for Congress to pass legislation providing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and people living in the United States under Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Key quotes:

“It was nine years ago today when President Obama walked into the Rose Garden and announced a new policy that would change the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people in our country. It is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—better known as DACA… The program has been a life-changer. It has allowed them to work, pursue higher education, and serve in America’s military. DACA has unleashed the full potential of Dreamers.”

“August 15, 2012, is a date I will never forget.  It was the first day that DACA applications were accepted. I was at Navy Pier, in Chicago for a workshop to help Dreamers apply for DACA. We weren’t sure if anyone would show up, and we weren’t sure how many people would show up. And then, what happened astonished us. Thousands of young people showed up that day and filled the entire boardwalk…That’s how eager these young people were to officially become part of  America — even on a temporary renewable basis.” 

“Over the years, the Dream Act has been a victim of the filibuster on the floor of the Senate five different times. As the Dream Act has languished in the Senate, hundreds of thousands of young people have been left with their futures in doubt. But that hasn’t stopped them from fighting for their dreams—and giving everything they can to this country.”

“Dreamers have taught schoolchildren in our nation’s classrooms, dazzled audiences at world-class music venues, like Carnegie Hall, fought in American wars, and started American businesses. And during the past year, as our nation was ravaged by a pandemic, and we were cheering on the health care heroes who risked their lives every minute of every day, Dreamers were saving American lives.”

“Like DACA recipients, TPS recipients have saved lives during this pandemic. More than 130,000 TPS holders are ‘essential critical infrastructure workers’ including 11,600 health care workers.”

“DACA and TPS recipients and their households contribute an estimated $17.4 billion in federal taxes and $9.7 billion in state and local taxes every single year.  And by enacting the Dream and Promise Act, we could increase our nation’s GDP by an estimated $799 billion over ten years and create more than 285,000 new jobs.”

“The challenges we face at the border are no excuse for inaction…we are not going to ignore that reality, but this is a reality as well. For too many years, Congress has looked the other way and found another excuse to put off this decision. It’s time to allow these individuals – these future Americans – to finally become American citizens.”

Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.