Ninety Days Since Landmark Supreme Court DACA Decisions And Following Critical TPS Decision, Durbin Calls On Senate To Pass Dream And Promise Act
WASHINGTON – Ninety days since the Supreme Court’s decision rejecting President Donald Trump’s repeal of the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee and author of the Dream Act, once again called on the Senate to pass the bipartisan, House-passed American Dream and Promise Act. The legislation 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, more than 450 days ago.
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.”
“It’s been exactly 90 days since the Supreme Court rejected President Trump’s effort to end deportation protections for Dreamers,” Durbin said. “Let’s be clear. The Supreme Court of the United States rejected President Trump’s repeal of DACA. That means DACA returns to its original status and the Trump Administration, under the court order, must reopen the program. And they must do it now. Instead Mr. Wolf is saying that DHS will turn away 300,000 applicants who are Dreamers and eligible for DACA but have not had a chance to apply… This Administration, which is telling America they are dedicated to ‘law and order’ – is in open defiance of the Supreme Court. The stakes are too high—both for the rule of law and just as important, the lives of Dreamers. To ignore this is to ignore a legitimate order of the highest court in the land. Republicans and Democrats in Congress must come together to compel the President to follow the law and immediately comply with the Supreme Court's mandate.”
In his speech on the Senate floor, Durbin also highlighted the decision this week by a federal court to lift the injunction on President Trump’s decision to rescind TPS protections and deport hundreds of thousands of immigrants with deep roots in our country. 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. Durbin noted that this TPS decision makes it even more important that the Senate immediately consider the Dream and Promise Act.
“…the President is trying to rescind TPS protections and deport hundreds of thousands of immigrants from our country. A federal judge concluded that the President broke the law and blocked his effort to end TPS. However, earlier this week, in a divided decision, two Republican-appointed judges ruled the other way and lifted the injunction. This decision makes it even more important that the Senate immediately consider the Dream and Promise Act.”
To highlight the importance of DACA and the need to enact the Dream and Promise Act, Durbin shared on the Senate floor the story of Esmeralda Tovar-Mora, a Dreamer who is working as a case manager at a mental health center and as a medication aide in an Alzheimer’s ward in Hutchinson, Kansas, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Esmeralda is the 126th Dreamer whose story Durbin has told on the Senate floor.
Durbin concluded, “I’m sorry the Senate Republicans are ignoring President Trump’s defiance of the Supreme Court and refusing to bring the Dream and Promise Act to the floor. As long as I’m a United States Senator, I’ll be coming [to the floor] to fight for Esmeralda and all immigrants. It would be an American tragedy to deport this brave and talented health care worker in the midst of this pandemic. We must assure that Esmerelda and hundreds of others in our essential workforce are not forced to stop working when we need them more than ever.”
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.
In June, 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. Three months later, Senator McConnell has not even replied to the letter.
Also in June, Durbin led a letter from 43 Senators to President Trump calling on him to immediately comply with the Supreme Court’s decision rejecting the Administration’s rescission of DACA and requiring the Administration to reopen DACA for new applicants. Three months later, the Senators still have not received a response to their letter, and the Trump Administration still refuses to reopen DACA.
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.
About Esmerelda Tovar-Mora
Esmerelda Tovar-Mora came to the United States from Mexico when she was only two years old. She grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas. Esmerelda was an excellent student. In high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society, President of the Key Club, sang in her church choir, and played on the tennis team. She graduated magna cum laude.
Esmerelda’s experiences in Key Club visiting nursing homes convinced her that she wanted a career in healthcare taking care of people. Thanks to DACA, Esmerelda was able to work as a waitress to support herself through college. Esmerelda is now working as a case manager at a mental health center and as a medication aide in an Alzheimer’s ward in Hutchinson, Kansas. Now, Esmerelda is on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Esmerelda is married to Michael Mora. Specialist Mora serves in the Kansas National Guard and recently returned from a nine-month tour in the Middle East. They have one daughter together, Rose, who recently turned four years old.
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