Durbin Pushes For Quick Action On Bipartisan Dream Act During Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On DACA
WASHINGTON – During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, warned his Senate colleagues that the deportation clock is ticking for approximately 800,000 DACA recipients. He also urged them to support the bipartisan Dream Act that he and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have introduced, which would allow immigrant students who grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship.
“America needs to know that the deportation clock is ticking on these young people. Consider this: beginning on March 5, 2018, every workday for the following two years – every work day – approximately 1,400 Dreamers will lose their work permits and be subject to deportation,” said Durbin. “America gets this. It was Fox News who brought us the poll that said that 83 percent of Americans support a path to citizenship for Dreamers, including 63 percent of those who voted for President Trump. We need to pass the Dream Act and that’s what Senator Graham and I are trying to do.”
Video of Durbin’s remarks to the Judiciary Committee is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks to the Judiciary Committee is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s remarks to the Judiciary Committee is available here for TV Stations.
In the hearing, Durbin shared the stories of three Dreamers – Tereza Lee, Cristina Velasquez, and Tolu Olubumni. Tereza Lee was the first Dreamer, having contacted Durbin’s office 16 years ago. Tereza was brought to the United States when she was two by her parents, and she was undocumented. Tereza went on to obtain her BA and Masters Degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where she is currently pursuing her Doctorate.
Cristina Velasquez was six years old when her family came to the United States from Venezuela. She is now a student at Georgetown University and she has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award two years in a row. She has dedicated two of her undergraduate summers and a full school year to volunteering as a teacher. When Cristina graduates in December, she will begin working with Teach for America, which already has 190 DACA recipients teaching children all across the country.
When speaking about the SUCCEED Act, Durbin shared the story of Tolu Olubumni, who was brought to the United States from Nigeria as a child. She has lived here for more than two decades. She graduated from Washington and Lee University with a degree in chemical engineering. She currently serves on the Global Agenda Council on Migration and was recognized by the World Economic Forum as one of 15 Women Changing the World. But Tolu is older than the SUCCEED Act’s age cap, so it would offer her no protection from deportation to Nigeria, where she hasn’t lived since she was a child.
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.
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