WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement during “Removing Barriers to Legal Migration to Strengthen our Communities and Economy,” a Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety hearing chaired by U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA). During his opening statement, Durbin highlighted the need for Congress to pass legislation to fix the badly broken immigration system, including to provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the green card backlog. Durbin also spoke on the humanitarian crisis happening in Ukraine. An estimated 2.8 million Ukrainians—almost all of them women, children, and seniors—have fled to other nations.
“Is there anyone in America who is not following what is going on in Ukraine? Turn on the television. Every single day, another heartbreaking scene. You wonder about those poor people and families at the train station – the mother holding the baby, kissing her husband goodbye. [They] take that train most times to Poland. Poland has now received one and a half million refugees from Ukraine. We estimate three million Ukrainians have left their country. Three million refugees.”
“We are a nation of immigrants. My mother was an immigrant, I’m proud of that fact…we haven’t updated this legal immigration system in America in now 32 years. In 2013, we tried to change it. I worked with a group [to] pass a bipartisan immigration bill…The bill passed the Senate 68-32. It provided a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants with deep roots in this country. The Republicans wouldn’t even consider it in the House.”
“One of the most significant challenges is the lack of green cards. The numbers are stunning. Four million future Americans are stuck in the family green card backlog overseas…and more than 875,000 immigrants are stuck in the employment green card backlog in the United States – while we only issue 140,000 employment green cards per year.”
“One of the most heartbreaking consequences of the green card backlog is its impact on innocent children. They have grown up in America and believe this is their home –but current law strips them of their legal status when they reach the age of 21. As a result, they are ‘aging out’ at 21. ..That’s why I am proud to cosponsor Chair Padilla’s bipartisan bill, America’s Children Act.”
“Strengthening our immigration system will boost our economy. Opening our doors to refugees will remind us of the goodness in the American people. Let’s get the job done.”
Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.