Durbin: This Isn't Just About The Dream Act - It's About The American Dream

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) again came to the Senate floor today to call on Republican leaders in Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act now. More than 13,000 Dreamers have already lost their DACA status at a rate of roughly 1,000 each week.  Beginning early next year, 1,000 additional young people will lose their protection from deportation each day.

In the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was so frustrated with General McClellan—he wouldn’t attack or do anything. He said, ‘General McClellan, if you’re not using your army, can I use it?’” said Durbin. “I say to the House: if you’re not going to use your Congress, can I borrow it? Can we have a debate over a real bill to solve a real problem? I think that might be a worthy thing for us to do. Across the board, 76% of the American people support what we are trying to do here. 76%. They think this is the right thing to do. When you come to know them and hear their stories, you come to the conclusion, for goodness sakes, that these are extraordinary young people. They have survived and flourished in a country that doesn’t recognize them as legal. They went to our schools. They pledged allegiance to our flag and sang the national anthem and that’s the country they know.”

Durbin spoke today about Miriam Gonzalez, the 105th Dreamer whose story he has told on the Senate floor, and who was brought to the United States from Mexico when she was six years old. She grew up in Boyle Heights, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. Miriam was an excellent student and athlete. In high school, she played on the softball and golf teams. She was a member of the bible club, chemistry club, and reading club. Miriam graduated as valedictorian of her high school. In college, Miriam did all she could to save money because she could not qualify for any federal aid due to her immigration status. She held down a job and commuted to school from her parent’s home using public transportation—two hours each way, every day. Miriam excelled academically, making the Dean’s Honor Roll. Today, Miriam is dedicated to assisting students in low income neighborhoods and schools, much like she experienced, helping them overcome barriers to success.

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

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

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

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.

Other Dreamer stories that Durbin has shared on the Senate floor are available here.