WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee and author of the Dream Act, called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring to the Senate floor the bipartisan House-passed American Dream and Promise Act, which will establish a path to citizenship for Dreamers and immigrants with TPS or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
Last week, 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.
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Durbin’s floor speech was part of his initiative to share the stories of #ImmigrantHealthHeroes. Today, Durbin shared the story of Diana Jimenez, an operating room nurse on the cardiovascular / cardiothoracic specialty team in a hospital in Austin, Texas.
“It would be an American tragedy to deport this brave and talented nurse who is saving lives in the midst of this pandemic. We must ensure that Diana and hundreds of thousands of others in our essential workforce are not stopped from working when the need for their service has never been greater. We must give them the chance they deserve to become American citizens,” Durbin said. “Why don’t we stand together and remind the President that there are values worth fighting for, and one of them is to make sure that this land of opportunity also has room for the immigrants who bring so much to our shores.”
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.
On Monday, 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. Last week, 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.
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.
Diana Jimenez is the 123rd Dreamer whose story Durbin has told on the Senate floor. Diana came to the United States from Mexico when she was only six years old. She grew up in Laredo, Texas. When Diana was 13, her mother was admitted to the hospital. Because her mother didn’t speak English, Diana had to serve as her translator. This experience inspired Diana to become a nurse.
Diana attended Texas A&M University. She was on the Dean’s list and was offered a scholarship for her academic accomplishments. But Diana had to turn down this scholarship because of her immigration status. She went on to earn her a degree in nursing and history, along with a minor in economics.
Thanks to DACA, Diana now works as an operating room nurse on the cardiovascular / cardiothoracic specialty team in a hospital in Austin, Texas. She is married and has a baby girl.
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