Durbin: It's Time For The Senate To Do It's Job And Pass The Bipartisan Dream Act

WASHINGTON—Five months since the Trump Administration terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and called for Congress to come up with a legislative solution, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on his Senate colleagues to come together and pass the bipartisan Dream Act. This week on the Senate floor, the Senate will debate immigration for the first time in five years.

“After a lot of negotiating back and forth, Senator McConnell agreed that this week we would debate immigration and DACA, the Dream Act. I’m excited about it, although I have no idea how this debate will end. It depends on the strength of an argument as to whether a measure is going to pass or not pass. But it’s certainly an issue I’ve been waiting for,” said Durbin. “There will be differences of opinion, strongly held beliefs on one side or the other. The question is whether this body, the United States Senate, can reach a bipartisan agreement. I think we can do it. I really believe we can. It will be a real test, but that’s what we were sent to do, isn’t it? The president has created a challenge, that challenge involves hundreds of thousands of lives. And now it’s our turn to meet that challenge as a Senate and to show that we’re up to the job.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

More than 19,000 Dreamers have already lost their DACA status, and beginning in less than one month – on March 5, 2018 – every day for the following two years 1,000 Dreamers will lose their work permits and be subject to deportation.  The Trump Administration itself has said that it will take six months to implement legislation legalizing DACA recipients. 

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.