Durbin: Democrats Want Border Security, But Will Not Support Administration's Hardline Anti-Immigrant Agenda

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today rebuked President Donald Trump’s claims that Democrats “do not want border security.”  During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, Durbin reminded Commissioner McAleenan that earlier this year, a bipartisan majority of the Senate supported Durbin’s bipartisan immigration and border security agreement but it failed to reach the 60 votes it needed because of the Trump Administration’s opposition.  On the same day, a bipartisan supermajority of the Senate rejected the President’s hardline anti-immigrant plan.

“Democrats support it [border security] and we stand ready to work on bipartisan immigration reform legislation.  But we are not going to support the Administration’s hardline agenda, which would slash legal immigration and family reunification, and unfortunately dramatically cut protections for women and children fleeing persecution,” Durbin said.

In today’s hearing, Durbin stressed that the Trump Administration is not addressing the root causes that drive migrants to the U.S. border and instead is further destabilizing the region by:

  • Slashing security and humanitarian assistance by more than one third;
  • Terminating Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador and Honduras, forcing more than a quarter million people back to these countries; and,
  • Shutting down legal avenues for migration like the Central American Minor program.

He also reminded his colleagues that it was a Democratic Senate that passed bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform in 2013 to provide $40 billion in border security funding and it was Republican leaders in the House of Representatives who refused to advance that bill. 

Video of Durbin’s remarks in the Judiciary Committee hearing are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks in the Judiciary Committee hearing is available here.