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Durbin & Graham Introduce the Dream Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), incoming Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today introduced the Dream Act of 2021, which would allow immigrant students without lawful status who were brought here as children and grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship.  Durbin and Graham introduced identical legislation in the last two sessions of Congress.

These young people, known as Dreamers, have lived in America since they were children, built their lives here, and are American in every way except for their immigration status.  However, under current law there is often no chance for them to ever become citizens and fulfill their potential.

“It is clear that only legislation passed by Congress can give Dreamers the chance they deserve to earn their way to American citizenship,” Durbin said.  “In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 200,000 DACA recipients are ‘essential critical infrastructure workers.’  Among these essential workers are 41,700 DACA recipients in the health care industry.  It would be an American tragedy to deport these brave and talented essential workers in the midst of this pandemic.  I first introduced the Dream Act 20 years ago, and I’ll continue fighting until it becomes the law of the land.  This is a matter of simple American fairness and justice.  I thank Senator Graham for partnering with me again in this important bipartisan effort.” 

“For years, I have supported a solution for the Dream Act population who were brought to the United States by their parents as minors,” Graham said.  “I do not believe this legislation will pass and be signed into law as a stand-alone measure.  I believe it will be a starting point for us to find bipartisan breakthroughs providing relief to the Dreamers and also repairing a broken immigration system. I look forward to working with Senator Durbin and others to see if we can find a way forward.”

The Dream Act of 2021 would allow these young people to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they:

  • Came to the U.S. as children and are without lawful status;
  • Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;
  • Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military;
  • Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
  • Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.