Durbin To Leader McConnell: Protect Dreamers & Call A Vote On The Dream And Promise Act

On November 12, The Supreme Court Will Hear Oral Arguments On The Legality Of DACA

WASHINGTON—Ahead of next week’s oral argument in the Supreme Court on the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, today came to the Senate floor to once again call on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to call a vote on the bipartisan House-passed American Dream and Promise Act, which will establish a path to citizenship for Dreamers and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). 

In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin also shared the story of Ernestor De La Rosa, who was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was a child.  He is the 118th Dreamer whose story Durbin has told on the Senate floor. 

“Next week, the eyes of Ernestor and the eyes of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers will be focused on the Supreme Court.  They are counting on the Supreme Court to do the right thing and reject President Trump’s illegal repeal of DACA.  They are counting on us who serve in the Senate to solve this crisis that the President has created and to give this young man and thousands just like him a chance,” Durbin said.  “It would be an American tragedy to deport this young man after all that he has achieved and send him back to Mexico, where he hasn’t lived since he was a little boy.  Will the Majority Leader give him a chance?  I hope so.  The Senate should give the American Dream and Promise Act a vote.”

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.

Durbin first introduced the Dream Act nineteen years ago.  In March, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Durbin introduced the Dream Act of 2019.  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.

Ernestor came to the United States from Mexico legally as a child and applied for a green card so he could become a lawful permanent resident.  But the line was so long that Ernestor’s visa expired before he received his green card.

When he first arrived in Dodge City, Kansas, Ernestor did not speak or read English.  But he worked hard and became an honors student.  He earned an Associate’s Degree from Dodge City Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree from Fort Hays State University, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Wichita State University. 

Today, Ernestor is the Assistant City Manager of Dodge City, helping to manage a budget of more than $55 million and directly overseeing 20 employees.  He is responsible for the city’s legislative affairs, working with federal, state, and local representatives on issues such as housing, transportation, and energy. 

Ernestor’s dream is to become an American citizen and to advance from assistant city manager to city manager so he can continue to make a difference in people’s lives.  But that can only happen if Congress passes the American Dream and Promise Act.