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Durbin Statement on Federal Judge Again Declaring DACA Unlawful

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and lead author of the Dream Act, released the following statement regarding Judge Andrew Hanen, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Texas, again declaring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal.  Judge Hanen’s decision struck down a Biden Administration effort to codify the policy into a federal regulation, though he refrained from ordering the termination of deportation protections and work permits of nearly 580,000 Dreamers:

“Dreamers are protected from deportation for now, but due to lawsuits by extreme MAGA Republicans, their fates continue to hang in the balance and an untold number of Dreamers have been unable to enroll in the program for years.  Earlier this year, I reintroduced the Dream Act with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.  We have been on the cusp of passing the Dream Act for years.  But time and again, Congress has failed to finish the job due to Republican obstructionism. 

“It’s time for Congress to step up and meet our responsibility to Dreamers once and for all.  I hope we can meet our obligation as lawmakers to solve this problem and pass the Dream Act, not just for the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers out there, but for the future of our country.”

Twenty-two years ago, Durbin first introduced the Dream Act—bipartisan legislation that would give undocumented immigrants who grew up in this country a chance to become American citizens.  In 2010, Durbin sent a letter, joined by the late Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), asking then-President Obama to stop the deportation of Dreamers.  Eleven years ago this June, President Obama responded by announcing the DACA program.  More than 800,000 Dreamers have since come forward and received DACA, which has allowed them to contribute more fully to their country as teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers, and small business owners.

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.