WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Majority Whip and incoming Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on Congress to pass the Dream Act, describing it as one of his highest priorities in the 117th Congress. Durbin thanked President Biden for signing an executive order restoring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and urged his colleagues to finally pass the long overdue, bipartisan Dream Act, which would give young immigrants, known as Dreamers, a pathway to citizenship.
“In one of his first official acts, President Joseph Biden signed an executive order to restore DACA. I am eternally grateful for President Biden’s courage and commitment and for keeping his word. Without DACA, hundreds of thousands of talented young people who have grown up in our country cannot continue their work and risk deportation every single day. But the resumption of DACA is just the first step toward long overdue justice for Dreamers. Only legislation passed by Congress can provide a path to citizenship to the Dreamers,” Durbin said.
During his speech, Durbin shared the story of Hina Naveed, a Dreamer who at the height of the pandemic volunteered on weekends at a hospital and at a residential facility with COVID-19 patients. Thanks to DACA, Hina became a Registered Nurse, attended law school, and worked as the Director of Health Services at a nonprofit community-based organization in New York. Her department provides health care services for children in foster care, many of whom have experienced medical neglect. She is also a member of the New York City Medical Reserve Corps.
“Well, let me start by saying thank you to Hina Naveed for her service on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. All of us are in awe of our health care heroes. She is an immigrant health care hero. She is a DACA health care hero. She's put herself and her family at risk to protect others. She also shouldn't have to worry about being deported tomorrow and her family facing division. Will America be a stronger country if we just upped and deported her? Or if she became an American citizen? I think the choice is clear,” Durbin concluded.
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.