Durbin: The Republicans Who Control Congress Should Ignore Trump, Protect Dreamers

Senator calls on Republican leaders in Congress to accept one of the six bipartisan solutions on the table to save the Dreamers

WASHINGTON—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 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (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 a federal court has issued an order blocking President Trump’s repeal of DACA, Dreamers that have DACA can continue to apply to renew their status for now. 

“How did we get into this crisis?  President Trump’s decision, September 5, 2017, to end DACA created the crisis we face.  We need to work toward a solution.  The president has rejected six bipartisan proposals.  I don’t know what it will take to bring him around.  I’m skeptical now of any statements that he would make publically that he wants to solve this problem.  But I also know that we face uncertainty for these young people.  I urge my colleagues on both sides, don’t quit on this issue.  Don’t quit on these young people,” Durbin said.  “This issue is not over because we have failed in the Senate.  The issue is still there.  The question is whether Senators from both political parties can summon the courage to solve this problem.”

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.  

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

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

Today, Durbin also shared the story of Gloria Rinconi, the 113th Dreamer whose story he has told on the Senate floor.  When Gloria was only one year old, her family brought her to the United States from Mexico.  Gloria grew up in North Carolina and Texas.  Her family was poor, but Gloria worked hard and became an excellent student.  In high school, she took Advanced Placement courses and was a member of the National Technical Honor Society.  She also received the Tyler Independent School District Student Award.  Gloria also was active in extracurricular activities.  She worked on the school yearbook and was a member of French Club, Pom Squad, and Drill Prep.  Gloria also competed in pageants, winning the National American Miss State pageant and the National American Miss National pageant. 

Gloria graduated high school with a Medical Assistant Program certification.  Now she is attending Richland College, majoring in Psychology.  She also works full time as a Medical Assistant for a surgeon.  Gloria’s dream is to become a clinical psychologist and work with low income families with mental health issues. 

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.