Durbin Meets with Illinois DACA Recipient Alyssandra Abrenica

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, met with Alyssandra Abrenica, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient from Illinois who moved to America from the Philippines when she was four years old. Ms. Abrenica is currently pursuing a career in psychiatry as a resident at the University of Wisconsin, and she is a passionate advocate for DACA.

The pair discussed Durbin’s Dream Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow noncitizens without lawful status who were brought to the United States as children and meet certain education or work requirements to earn lawful permanent residence. 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.  However, under current law, there is often no chance for them to ever become citizens and fulfill their potential. 

“Alyssandra is on a trailblazing path to serving her community as a psychiatrist, and I was honored to talk with her today. Every Dreamer whom I’ve met has a unique and inspiring story like Alyssandra’s, but one theme repeatedly emerges: fear of deportation. I’ve shared almost 150 stories from Dreamers across our country on the Senate floor, because their stories are the embodiment of the American dream. These young people are business owners, teachers, parents, athletes, scientists, nurses, health care workers, musicians… and it’s time for Congress to get to work and pass the Dream Act once and for all,” said Durbin.

Photos of the meeting 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 for years.  Durbin, along with seven of his Republican and Democratic colleagues, authored a comprehensive immigration reform 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.