Durbin Statement On President Obama's Immigration Announcement

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] –U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement on President Obama’s immigration announcement:

“It was 511 days ago that the Senate overwhelmingly passed comprehensive, bipartisan reforms to America’s broken immigration system. Since that day, this measure has languished in the House of Representatives, where Republican leaders refuse to call it for a vote. Faced with inaction, President Obama has accepted responsibility for moving this country forward and will begin to address a crisis that tears families apart, weakens our economy, and threatens our national security. 

The President’s action will make America safer by bringing millions of immigrants out of the shadows to register with the government and undergo rigorous law enforcement and national security background checks. By bringing undocumented workers into the legal workforce, we will eliminate the unfair competition of the underground economy.  And all of these workers will be paying payroll taxes, which will increase tax revenues by billions of dollars every year.

This is not amnesty.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—or “DACA”—simply puts a hold on the deportations of these immigrant students and allows them to live and work legally in America on a temporary basis. Individuals who receive this “deferred action” are not granted permanent legal status or citizenship – only Congress can do that.

Doing nothing to reform our broken immigration system – which is what the House Republican leadership have done - is amnesty. What the president is calling for is accountability. That to me is smart and humane. That to me is what America is all about.

For the past decade, I’ve helped lead efforts to pass bipartisan immigration reform legislation.  But every time, we’ve been stopped by Republican opposition. President Obama is using his executive authority to begin to solve a problem that House Republicans refuse to even address. And while it won’t take the place of Congressional action, it’s a strong first step and it’s the right thing to do for the American people.”