Durbin Joins Community, Business, & Labor Advocates at Briefing on Tax Contributions of Immigrant Spouses of U.S. Citizens

WASHINGTON – Following Tax Day, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined American Families United, American Business Immigration Coalition, FWD.us, and UNITE HERE Local 1 for a briefing on why President Biden should use his administrative authority to grant work permits to immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens.  In March, Durbin led a lettersigned by 18 other Senators calling on the Biden Administration to extend work permits to undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens and provide stability “to the American businesses, communities, and families who rely on them.”

Durbin was joined by Gerardo Diaz, a U.S. citizen spouse and Illinois member of American Families United; Sam Sanchez, the owner of Third Coast Hospitality and a board member of the National Restaurant Association; Roushaunda Williams, a member and leader of UNITE HERE Local 1 and an executive board member of the Illinois AFL-CIO; and Mariana, a Dreamer and student at DePaul University.

“Today, there are an estimated 1.1 million U.S. citizens married to an undocumented immigrant.  Our laws are supposed to provide U.S. citizens an opportunity to sponsor their noncitizen family members, but our outdated immigration system includes many categorical bars that prevent spouses from obtaining status.  These families live in fear that their loved ones may be deported at any time,” said Durbin.  “These immigrants already pay taxes and work in our communities.  If they were given a path to citizenship, it would bring stability to their families—and they would pay an additional $5 billion dollars in taxes.”

Durbin continued, “It’s time for our Republican colleagues in Congress to set aside extremist rhetoric and come to work with us on solutions.  But American families need solutions now.  That is why I led a letter with 18 of my colleagues to President Biden asking him to provide the spouses of U.S. citizens with a work permit.  It is only a temporary solution—ultimately Congress needs to act.  But it is essential that we do everything possible in the meantime to allow these families to live free of fear of deportation and stay together.”

Photos of today’s briefing are available here.

As the lead author of the Dream Act and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Durbin has been a champion for immigration reform foryears.  Durbin, along with seven of his Republican and Democratic colleagues, authored a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have made critical reforms to our immigration system and addressed many of the challenges our nation faces at the border today.  That legislation passed the Senate with bipartisan support in 2013 but did not receive a vote in the Republican-controlled House.