Announces new proposal to provide immediate assistance to border officials and authorities to help secure the border & efficiently process asylum seekers, as well as provide support to the communities that welcome migrants
WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today called on his Republican colleagues to work with Democrats on comprehensive immigration reform that will help secure America’s border and address our nation’s shortage of workers. During his speech, Durbin argued that Congress’ decades of failure to fix America’s broken immigration system are on full display at our nation’s southern border this week as Title 42 is set to expire tomorrow.
“For more than 35 years, Congress has failed to fix the immigration laws of America. And this week, that failure is going to be on full display on the news every night. That’s because tomorrow, the COVID-19 emergency measure known as Title 42 comes to an end,” said Durbin. “This program was first created by President Trump during the earliest days of the coronavirus epidemic. And for the past three years, Title 42 has done nothing to address the challenges at our border—it has simply shut the border down and turned away families seeking refuge in America. Title 42 is not only inhumane, it is ineffective. By turning our back on asylum seekers, and leaving federal and local officials unequipped to address this crisis, we have only created more chaos and misery at our border.”
Durbin noted that the Biden Administration is doing everything it can to bring order to our southern border with the limited tools it has under current immigration laws. But, Durbin said, our outdated immigration system is collapsing under the weight of our modern day challenges, and the only way to change that is by enacting comprehensive immigration reform in Congress.
“The Biden Administration is, at this moment, doing everything it can to create an orderly process at our southern border with the limited tools of our current immigration law. With the lifting of Title 42 in just a matter of hours, we will likely see a significant increase in migrants seeking asylum. It goes to show that Title 42 has failed to reduce the demand for those seeking entry into America. Really, that demand has been piling up for three years,” Durbin said. “So to help to manage this expected increase in border crossings, the Biden Administration is deploying every resource at its disposal. They have increased capacity to process asylum seekers, expanded access to lawful pathways into the U.S., and partnered with other countries, like Colombia and Guatemala, to create new processing centers away from the southern border. And while all of these steps are important, there is no action by the President alone that can address the fundamental problem we face.”
Durbin went on to argue that the proposal introduced by the MAGA majority in the House would simply codify the failures of Title 42 into law.
“Last week, the MAGA majority in the House introduced a proposal they claim is a solution, but really it just codifies the failures of Title 42. Their bill provides no new legal pathways for entry into this country, erases nearly all humanitarian protections for families seeking asylum, and makes the situation at the border even worse,” Durbin said. “The fact is the Republicans can try and build a border wall as high as they like, but it will not change the reality on the ground.”
Durbin continued, “And here’s the reality: we, in this world, are in the midst of the worst refugee crisis in history. From Ukraine to Venezuela, 100 million people around the world have been displaced from their homes by war, by hunger, by political persecution, by climate change. And one in five of these refugees reside in the western hemisphere. Simply ignoring this global humanitarian crisis solves nothing, and shutting down our border won’t deter these families from still trying to find refuge in America.”
Finally, Durbin announced that he’s introducing a proposal this week to provide immediate assistance to border officials and authorities to help secure the border and efficiently process asylum seekers, as well as provide support to the communities that welcome migrants.
“My bill would provide immediate assistance to border officials and authorities to help secure the border and efficiently process asylum seekers. It would provide support to the communities that welcome migrants in our country,” Durbin said. “This bill is by no means a comprehensive package, but it is an opportunity to show the American people that we are not ignoring the reality, and we can support our frontline officials from the communities that need help. The American people are tired of partisan bickering and excuses over immigration. They want us to work together to secure our border, support our economy, and stand by the fundamental principles and values that have started this nation.”
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.
Durbin also told the story of a migrant family he met at the Salvation Army Rescue Center in the West Side of Chicago last year. Carlos came to the United States with his wife and two young daughters from Venezuela. The family traveled to reach the Texas-Mexico border by foot. The journey took four months, and they were faced with violence, theft, and exploitation.
As the lead author of the Dream Act and Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Durbin has been a champion for immigration reform for years. Durbin, along with seven of his Republican and Democratic colleagues, authored a comprehensive immigration reform package that would have addressed many of the challenges our nation faces at the border today. That legislation passed the Senate with bipartisan support in 2013, but did not receive a vote in the Republican-controlled House.