Durbin: President Trump Must Solve The Crisis He Created & Support The Bipartisan Dream Act Now

WASHINGTON—Following a federal court ruling yesterday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protections must stay in place, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today again came to the Senate floor to call on Republican leaders in Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act now.  As of March 5, 2018 – the arbitrary deadline that President Trump set for expiration of the DACA program – hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the United States as children, known as Dreamers, faced losing their work permits and being deported to countries they barely remember.  Because three federal courts have issued orders blocking President Trump’s repeal of DACA, Dreamers that have DACA can continue to apply to renew their status for now.

“The Trump Administration is doing everything in its power to fight this injunction, and it could be lifted any day.  We don’t know where the courts will turn and make a decision.  This means there’s still an urgent need for Congress to act to overcome the decision of the President of the United States last September,” Durbin said.  “Congress needs to do its job and the President needs to do his if he truly wants to lead this nation and bring us together.  If he wants to stand for fairness, and justice, and opportunity, and young people who want to make America better, then this President has to step up and admit the problem that he created on September 5 of last year can only be solved if he stands up and shows the courage and determination to find a solution.”

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

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

On March 7, 2018, Durbin spoke with Secretary Nielsen, who personally assured him that Dreamers with pending DACA renewal applications will not be deported, even if their DACA status has expired.  However, for DACA recipients whose status has expired, DHS will not authorize them to work unless and until their DACA is renewed.  This means that tens of thousands of DACA-eligible individuals could be forced to leave their jobs while their applications are pending and before their renewals are approved. 

As of March 31, 2018, more than 32,000 DACA renewal applications were pending.  Of these pending renewal applications, more than 9,000 were from recipients whose DACA has already expired.  And tens of thousands more Dreamers have DACA protection due to expire soon.

Today, Durbin also shared the story of Karina Macias, who was only three years old when her family brought her to the United States from Mexico.  She is the 114th Dreamer whose story Durbin has told on the Senate floor.  Karina grew up in East Palo Alto, in Northern California.  As a child, she loving reading and spending her after school time and summers at the local Boys and Girls Club.  Karina was an excellent student and she received numerous awards in high school Karina, including the Mount Holyoke Book Award, the AP Scholar Award, and a Rotary Club Academic Achievement Award.

Karina then attended Saint Mary’s College of California, where she continued to excel academically and received several academic awards.  In May 2016, Karina graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication.  Today, Karina works as a project manager at a biotechnology firm.  She also volunteers with the Peninsula College Fund, where she organizes career development and college success workshops.  And she tutors elementary students and mentors middle school youth competing in local science competitions.  Karina’s dream for the future is to pursue an advanced degree so she can become a biotechnology researcher. 

In July of last year, 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.