Following Landmark Supreme Court Decision On DACA, Durbin Attempts To Pass Dream & Promise Act On Senate Floor

Senator Ted Cruz Objected To Durbin's Unanimous Consent Request On Behalf Of Senate Republicans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee and author of the Dream Act, today asked for unanimous consent to pass 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).  The House passed the Dream and Promise Act on June 4, 2019, nearly 400 days ago.  Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) objected to the unanimous consent request on behalf of Senate Republicans.

On June 18, 2020, in a landmark decision, the Supreme Court rejected President Trump’s effort to repeal deportation protections for Dreamers.  In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court held that the President’s decision to rescind the DACA was “arbitrary and capricious.”  Despite their contributions to the American workforce, the Trump Administration continues to be focused on arbitrarily ending the programs that allow approximately 131,300 TPS holders and 202,500 DACA recipients to serve on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.

Last week, Durbin led the entire Senate Democratic Caucus in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) calling on him to immediately take up the bipartisan House-passed American Dream and Promise Act.  Two weeks ago, Durbin led 43 of his Senate Democratic colleagues in a letter to President Trump urging him to finally end his cruel attempts to deport DACA recipients.

To highlight the importance of DACA and the need to enact the Dream and Promise Act, Durbin shared the story of Cinthya Ramirez, a DACA recipient and a cardiac registered nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the largest hospital in Nashville.  

“I want to thank Cinthya Ramirez, a DACA recipient, for her service.  She is an immigrant, a health care hero.  She is a DACA health care hero.  She is putting herself and her family at risk to save the lives of others.  She also should not have to wake up every morning in fear that actions taken by the Trump Administration will lead to her being deported back to a country she can barely, if at all, remember,” Durbin said.  “What an American tragedy it would be to deport this brave and talented young nurse who is saving lives in the midst of this pandemic.  America is better than that.  We must ensure that Cinthya and hundreds of thousands of others in our essential workforce are not forced to stop working when we need them now more than ever, and we must give them the chance they desire to become citizens of the United States.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is 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 2019, 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.

Cinthya Ramirez is the 124th Dreamer whose story Durbin has told on the Senate floor.  Cinthya came to the United States from Mexico when she was only four years old.  She grew up in Nashville, Tennessee.  In high school, Cinthya was on the track team and was a student council representative.  And she was an excellent student.  She graduated at the top of her high school class with the highest honors.

Cinthya went on to Lipscomb University, a private Christian college in Nashville.  She graduated with a nursing degree.  Today, thanks to DACA, Cinthya works as a cardiac registered nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the largest hospital in Nashville.  Now, Cinthya is on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.