Durbin, Joined by DACA Medical Students, Calls on Congress to Bring Dream Act to Vote
MAYWOOD – Following the Trump Administration’s cruel and misguided decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin today called on the Republican leaders of the Senate and the House to bring the bipartisan Dream Act to the floor. The Dream Act, which was introduced by Durbin and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), would allow DACA recipients to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship. Durbin was joined by DACA recipients from Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine.
“Dreamers have so much to contribute to our country – as teachers, engineers, soldiers, and doctors. But because of President Trump’s decision to end DACA, 800,000 young people who were brought here as children will be forced out of the workforce and at risk of immediate deportation,” Durbin said. “I first introduced the Dream Act sixteen years ago to ensure these young people could stay here, in the only country they’ve ever known. I’m confident that if Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan bring the Dream Act to the floor, it will pass both chambers. Now Congress must act on this bipartisan legislation.”
“We are extremely disheartened by the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As a Jesuit, Catholic institution, Loyola University Chicago firmly believes in the dignity of each person and in the promotion of social justice. It defies understanding that we as a country would squander the wealth of talent, commitment, and grit exhibited by this extraordinary group of people who we know as our colleagues, our classmates, and our neighbors. These young individuals are woven into the fabric of our communities and have a basic right to contribute to our society. They are our future doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, business owners, and leaders who join us in lifting up the most marginalized in our world. Loyola University Chicago is committed to their success,” said Loyola University Chicago President, Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, in a statement.
In 2012, Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine became the first medical school in the nation to adjust its admission policy to welcome applicants who qualify for DACA. There are currently 32 medical students with DACA status at enrolled at Stritch.
Under the Trump Administration’s plan, the DACA program will end on March 5, 2018, leaving approximately 800,000 people who are currently protected under DACA vulnerable to deportation if Congress does not pass a law within six months.
The Dream Act would allow these young people to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they:
- Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children;
- Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;
- Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military;
- Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
- Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
- Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.
Senator Durbin has been the leading voice in Congress in the fight to protect young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. In April 2010, he was the first member of Congress to call for the establishment of DACA. Durbin has come to the Senate floor nearly 100 times to share the stories of Dreamers since he introduced the original Dream Act 16 years ago.
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