Durbin Urges Dreamers To Renew Their DACA

DHS Secretary Nielsen personally assured Durbin today that Dreamers with pending DACA renewal applications will be protected from deportation

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today urged recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to immediately file applications to renew their DACA status, which is permitted by two nationwide federal court injunctions blocking the Trump Administration’s repeal of DACA. This morning, Durbin spoke with Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, who personally assured him that Dreamers with pending DACA renewal applications will NOT be deported, even if their DACA status has expired. Durbin was on the Senate floor to tell the story of a Dreamer for the 110th time.

So here we stand. The President has abolished the DACA program,” said Durbin. “The protection for 800,000 young people from being deported—the protection that allowed them to work—is officially, from President Trump’s point of view, abolished. It has not been replaced. The deadline has been reached, and it’s being argued in court. So how much protection does that buy for the 800,000? We don’t know. We know it is a court-based protection, an injunction that could last for weeks or months or even longer. But that uncertainty is what’s hanging over this whole debate.” 

This morning, Durbin spoke to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to ask how her department is proceeding in light of the two federal injunctions against the President’s rescission of the DACA program that require DHS to protect DACA recipients from deportation and accept DACA renewal applications. 

For example, if you were protected by DACA, a young person, and if the President’s abolition of DACA did not allow you to renew your DACA application when it expired, what is your status?  Can you be deported? Secretary Nielsen told me point-blank: no, we will not deport those who have pending DACA renewal applications.”

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

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

As of Monday, tens of thousands of DACA recipients could lose their work permits and be at risk of deportation due to DHS delays in processing DACA applications.

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.