Durbin, Harris, Cortez Masto Introduce Bill To Lift Ban On Dreamers Working For Congress

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the American Dream Employment Act, legislation to rescind the current prohibition on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients working or participating in paid internships in Congress.

“Since I first introduced the Dream Act in 2001, I have met hundreds of Dreamers who are giving back to their communities as teachers, nurses, engineers, and soldiers.  Many of them are dedicated to public service, and it makes no sense to deprive Congress of this homegrown talent pool,” said Durbin.  “I’ve been proud to have several Dreamers work in my office as volunteer interns and have seen firsthand how the people of Illinois would benefit if Dreamers could serve as paid employees in my office.  I thank Senator Harris for her leadership in introducing this critical legislation and look forward to working with her to make it the law of the land.”

The American Dream Employment Act would amend current law to include DACA beneficiaries as an additional category of individuals eligible for paid employment in Congress.  This change would apply solely to employment in the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate.  The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), where it has 57 bipartisan co-sponsors.

The legislation is supported by United We Dream, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, FWD.us, the Immigration Hub, the National Immigration Law Center, and Unidos.

In addition to Senators Durbin, Harris, and Cortez Masto, the legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Last week, Durbin and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the Dream Act, which 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.  

For further information on the bill, click here.  For full bill text, click here.