Durbin To McConnell: End the Legislative Graveyard & Bring The American Dream And Promise Act To The Floor

WASHINGTON—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 schedule a floor 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 Pratishtha Khanna, who was only ten years old when she was brought to the United States from India.  She is the 117th Dreamer whose story Durbin has told on the Senate floor.  

“The eyes of Pratishtha and hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are on Washington and on the United States Senate.  Last week, the House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act in an effort to say to her and hundreds of thousands like her: we want you to be a part of America’s future,” Durbin said.  “I call on the Republican Leader in the Senate: don’t make this a legislative graveyard.  Let us use the power of this Senate to pass the legislation that passed the House of Representatives and give this young woman and thousands more just like her an opportunity to be part of America’s future.” 

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 .

Pratishtha Khanna grew up in Laurel, Maryland.  She was an excellent student who was placed in the Gifted and Talented program, and was a peer mentor who tutored fellow students in math science.  In 2009, Pratishtha graduated from high school with honors.  Pratishtha attended her local community college.  Because of her immigration status, she was not eligible for financial aid and was required to pay international student tuition.  She cleaned homes and tutored high school students to help pay the tuition.  She also volunteered at an infectious disease laboratory.  Pratishtha graduated with an Associate’s degree in biology.

In May 2014, Pratishtha graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  Following graduation, she worked as a scribe in the emergency department at Baltimore Washington Medical Center.  Pratishtha kept studying and she obtained a nursing assistant and patient care technician certification.  She then obtained a position at the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital while she continued working in the emergency department at Baltimore Washington Medical Center.

Pratishtha is now studying for her Masters of Sciences in Biomedical Sciences at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.  Her dream is to be a physician.