With President Trump In Open Defiance Of The Supreme Court, Durbin Attempts To Pass Dream & Promise Act On Senate Floor
WASHINGTON – In response to President Donald Trump’s open defiance of the Supreme Court’s decision rejecting his 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, asked unanimous consent 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 400 days ago. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) objected to the unanimous consent request on behalf of Senate Republicans.
In his speech on the Senate floor, Durbin also slammed today’s decision by the Trump Administration refusing to reopen DACA to eligible individuals who have been unable to apply due to President Trump’s attempt to terminate DACA in September 2017. Today’s announcement could impact approximately 300,000 Dreamers who are eligible for DACA but have not had a chance to apply for its protection.
“The Administration is now in open defiance of the Supreme Court when it comes to the DACA program. The stakes are too high—both for the rule of law and the lives of these young Dreamers—for us to ignore it. Republicans and Democrats in Congress need to come together to compel the President to immediately comply with the Supreme Court's mandate,” Durbin said. “Let’s be clear. The Supreme Court rejected the repeal of DACA. That means DACA returns to its original status and the Trump Administration must reopen the program. And they must do it now.”
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 Juan Alvarez, a Dreamer on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic working as a dietitian at an acute care hospital in Los Angeles. He is part of his hospital’s critical care team treating patients with coronavirus, ensuring patients receive adequate nutrition during their hospital stay to increase their chances of survival.
“I’m sorry there was an objection to the Dream and Promise Act today. But as long as I’m a United States Senator, I will continue to come to this floor – day after day, week after week, month after month – until the Senate gives Juan Alvarez a chance to become part of America’s future,” Durbin said. “It would be an American tragedy to deport this wonderful and talented young health care worker, who is literally saving lives as we meet today in the Senate. We must ensure that Juan and hundreds of thousands of others in our essential workforce are not forced to stop when the need for their service has never been greater. And we must give them the chance they deserve to become part of the American family.”
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.
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.
Earlier this month, Durbin and U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) led a letter from 33 Senators to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf calling on the Trump Administration 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.
Last month, 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.
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.
Juan Alvarez is the 125th Dreamer whose story Durbin has told on the Senate floor. Juan came to the United States from Mexico when he was only three years old. He grew up in Compton, California.
Juan was an excellent student. From a young age, Juan was interested in health care. But because of his immigration status, he was unable to attend medical or nursing school. Instead, Juan attended California State University, Long Beach, where he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition & Dietetics.
Today, thanks to DACA, Juan is working as a dietitian at an acute care hospital in Los Angeles. Now, Juan is on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. He is a part of his hospital’s critical care team treating patients with coronavirus. Juan’s role is to ensure that patients receive adequate nutrition during their hospital stay to increase their chances of survival.
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