Durbin Meets With Improve The Dream To Discuss Impact Of Green Card Backlog On Documented Dreamers

Despite growing up in the U.S., many Documented Dreamers face risk of deportation at age 21 if their parent does not receive the green card they are eligible for

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today met with members of Improve the Dream, a grassroots, youth-led organization that advocates for “Documented Dreamers,” who have grown up in the U.S. but are unable to obtain a green card due to decades-long backlogs.  During the meeting, Durbin listened to Documented Dreamers share their stories and concerns as they fear deportation because of the inaccessibility of green cards.

Durbin emphasized his support for the bipartisan America’s CHILDREN Act, which would provide Documented Dreamers the opportunity to obtain permanent residency if they maintain status in the U.S. for 10 years and graduate from American universities.  

“One of the most heartbreaking consequences of the green card backlog is its impact on young adults.  They have grown up in America, and this is their home, but current law strips them of their legal status when they reach the age of 21,” said Durbin.  “All Dreamers should have a viable path to citizenship.  In my meeting with Improve the Dream today, I met with Documented Dreamers to discuss how to build support for the America’s CHILDREN Act so that this pathway to citizenship will be within reach.” 

Photos of today’s meeting are available here.

In March 2022, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety held a hearing entitled “Removing Barriers to Legal Migration to Strengthen our Communities and Economy.”  The hearing centered on the need to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a focus on ensuring there is a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the green card backlog.   

An estimated 200,000 children and young adults are living in the United States as dependents of long-term nonimmigrant visa holders.  If a parent applies for an employment-sponsored green card, a child may obtain a green card through their parent only if the green card becomes available before the child turns 21.  However, because of the decades-long green card backlog, particularly for Indian and Chinese citizens, many children turn 21 before a visa becomes available and therefore do not qualify for a green card as a derivative.