Durbin: Senate Democrats Must Act On Permanent Legislative Solution For Dreamers

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and original author of the Dream Act, today slammed Friday’s federal court ruling in Texas on the legality of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and pressed the Senate to finally give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.

“I cannot imagine what life would be like if I were a kid growing up in America, always wondering if something I said, something I did, some action that was taken by some member of my family, would result in a knock on the door and my family being torn apart. My father or mother being deported to another country. But for hundreds of thousands of young people living in America, that has been the reality of their childhood,” Durbin said.

“The cruel and misguided decision of this court will not stand. DACA is a lawful exercise of executive prosecutorial discretion by the Department of Homeland Security. More than 800,000 young people in our country have received DACA protection, and they help save lives every day as nurses and doctors and first responders. They contribute to our economy and our future as business owners, engineers, and teachers. They are a vital part of our communities as friends, family members, and loved ones. America is the only home these Dreamers have ever known, and Congress has waited long enough, in fact it's waited too long to allow them to finally become American citizens. Friday's ruling is yet another reminder of the hell that these young people put up with over the past two decades,” Durbin continued.

“Congress cannot wait any longer. America cannot wait any longer. Senate Democrats need to provide a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers. We need to act swiftly. I hope that my Republican colleagues with conscience will think long and hard about whether they're going to stand in the way of the Dreamers at this moment in history. We need their help, and not just some halfhearted, symbolic attempt, but genuinely to give these young people a fighting chance to make America a better nation. To all the Dreamers out there, I promise you, we'll work as hard as necessary to get this job done and as quickly as possible,” Durbin concluded.

Video of Durbin’s statement on the Senate floor is available here.

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

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

Durbin first introduced the Dream Act twenty years ago.  Earlier this year, Durbin and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the Dream Act of 2021.  The Dream Act was also included in the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill that Durbin and Graham coauthored as part of the “Gang of Eight” – four Democrats and four Republicans.  The 2013 bill passed the Senate on a strong bipartisan vote of 68-32, but the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives refused to consider it.