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Durbin Statement on DHS Regulation to Preserve and Fortify DACA

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and lead author of the Dream Act, today released the following statement regarding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issuing a final rule that aims to preserve and fortify Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for certain eligible noncitizens who arrived in the United States as children, deferring their removal and allowing them an opportunity to access a renewable, two-year work permit:

“Over the past decade, DACA has allowed more than 800,000 Dreamers—teachers, nurses, small business owners, and members of our military—to remain in the only home they’ve ever known – America.  I applaud DHS for issuing this final rule to provide some stability to DACA recipients and make it more difficult for a future administration to rescind DACA, which is a lawful exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

“However, this rule cannot provide permanent legal status or fully protect DACA recipients from relentless Republican legal challenges to the program.  Only Congress can protect them.  I urge my Republican colleagues to stop obstructing our efforts to protect Dreamers.”

Durbin first introduced the Dream Act 21 years ago.  Last year, Durbin and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the Dream Act of 2021.  The Dream Act was also included in the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill that Durbin 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. 

Over the years, Senate Republicans have filibustered the Dream Act at least five times.  Last year, Chair Durbin convened bipartisan immigration negotiations that failed after Senate Republicans made unreasonable demands to cut legal immigration and limit the Dream Act to only current DACA recipients.