Durbin: Let's Show The American Dream Is Still Alive By Passing The Dream Act

WASHINGTON—Following the Trump Administration’s announcement last week that it will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) came to the Senate floor today to call on Republican leaders in Congress to bring the bipartisan Dream Act to the floor for a vote. 

During his speech, Durbin shared the story of one Dreamer – Cristina Velasquez, a student at Georgetown University.  During her time at Georgetown, Cristina has interned in the U.S. House of Representatives, piloted a college mentorship program at a local high school, and worked two part-time jobs.  Cristina also has dedicated two of her undergraduate summers and a full school year to volunteering as a teacher in Miami, Florida and San Francisco, California.  In both of these positions, she worked with high-achieving, low-income students, providing support on their path to college.  Cristina will graduate from Georgetown in December and has been accepted into Teach for America, a national non-profit organization that places talented recent college graduates in urban and rural schools that have a shortage of teachers. 

“Teach for America has 190 teachers working in these challenging districts who are currently DACA Dreamers. They are teaching kids all across America. What does it say to their students if these Teach for America Dreamers are invited to leave the country? Cristina is going to start the program Teach for America next summer and teach next fall. But without DACA or the Dream Act, Cristina and 190 other Teach for America teachers will be forced to drop out and leave their students behind,” said Durbin. “The Republican leaders of Congress need to help us pass the Dream Act once and for all and make it the law of the land. We need to bear responsibility for these hundreds of thousands who can make America a better country and show with their lives that the promise of America is still very much alive.”

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

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

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

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.