WASHINGTON—Following today’s historic Supreme Court ruling rejecting President Trump’s repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, spoke on the Senate floor to applaud the ruling and urge President Trump to finally end his cruel attempts to deport DACA recipients, who are commonly known as Dreamers. Durbin also urged the Senate to immediately take up and 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).
“This morning, minutes ago, the Supreme Court brought a smile and a sigh of relief to more than 700,000 young people in the United States of America…It means for these 700,000 DACA-protected individuals, they can continue to live, to work, and to study in America without fear of deportation for the moment,” Durbin said. “The House of Representatives, more than a year ago, passed the Dream and Promise Act which would take care of the DACA issue once and for all. We could enact that law and say to these young people, now you have your chance to stay and earn your path to citizenship in America. That's what we ought to be saying.”
Durbin also highlighted that 200,000 DACA recipients have been serving as essential workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many of whom are in health-care professions on the front-lines battling the virus. Durbin noted that it would be the height of irresponsibility to try and deport these young immigrants who are making extraordinary sacrifices and contributions to the country as we face the pandemic.
“Of the 700,000, 200,000 are essential employees. You may see them every day in many, many callings across America as we face this national health emergency. Over 40,000 of them are health care workers. So if you're a patient at a clinic or a hospital today fighting COVID-19 and your doctor or nurse just walked in the room with a big smile, it's because the Supreme Court said to that health care worker, that health care hero, you can stay in America. We need you,” Durbin continued.
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. Last year, 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.