August 09, 2021

Durbin: Now is the Time for Immigration Reform Through the Reconciliation Process

Durbin: Reconciliation will make historic investments in fixing our broken immigration system with the potential to generate more than one trillion dollars in economic growth over the next decade

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and lead author of the Dream Act, once again made the case for passing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants through the budget reconciliation process.  During his speech, Durbin argued that due to Congressional Republicans’ continued refusal to pass meaningful, bipartisan immigration legislation, the only viable option at this time for passing immigration reform is through the budget reconciliation process.

“This proposal will make historic investments in fixing our broken immigration system… the reforms we have in mind will provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers… they also take care of Temporary Protected Status people… and farm workers… and other essential immigrant workers who have been saving our lives and keeping our families fed during this pandemic,” Durbin said.  “Those are the groups we are trying to work to bring into America in a full-time status.  They would expand funding for commonsense measures that make our system safer for everyone, by improving the process of asylum claims, reduce immigration court backlogs, and start to secure our southern border.”

Durbin also argued that there is ample precedent for passing important legislation through budget reconciliation.  In 2005, Senate Republicans used the reconciliation process to dramatically increase the number of lawful permanent residents as well.

“There is ample precedent for passing this important legislation through budget reconciliation.  Republicans have used this process to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for drilling and enact a $1.9 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans and corporations,” Durbin said.  “In addition, in 2005, Senate Republicans used reconciliation to dramatically increase the number of lawful permanent residents by an estimated 3.2 million over ten years.  Now they are saying it doesn’t belong in reconciliation.  In 2005, they put it in.  This is the exact same immigration status we are proposing to give Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers, and essential workers.”

Durbin concluded, “For those who claim they are concerned about our southern border, here is your chance—here it is—to invest billions of dollars in smart and effective steps to improve border security.  We need to provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers and others who are contributing to our economy every day and will help grow it for years to come.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.

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