An Illinois Senator and original author of the DREAM Act says it’s time for Congress to act on the DACA program.
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, authored by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and then-Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch in 2001 has been introduced to Congress 5 times over the last two decades. The act would grant a conditional citizen status to people brought to the U.S. as minors by their parents as undocumented immigrants. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals signed as an executive order by former President Barack Obama in 2012 was a program set up similar to the DREAM Act but does not provide a pathway to citizenship for these minors, but allowed them to stay in the U.S. making them eligible for work permits and public schooling.
On Friday, a Texas federal judge ruled that the DACA program was illegal, dealing a blow to Democrats and President Joe Biden who were hoping to reinstate the DACA program and possibly pass the DREAM Act as a pathway for the recipients to receive citizenship.
Senator Durbin took to the floor yesterday and pressed his Senate colleagues to act: “The cruel and misguided decision of this court will not stand. DACA is a lawful exercise of executive prosecutorial discretion by the Department of Homeland Security. More than 800,000 young people in our country have received DACA protection, and they help save lives every day as nurses, and doctors, and first responders. They contribute to our economy and our future as business owners, engineers, and teachers. They are a vital part of our communities as friends, family members, and loved ones. America is the only home these DREAMers have ever known, and Congress has waited long enough. In fact, it has waited too long to allow them finally become American citizens.”
The Biden Administration has vowed to appeal the Texas court ruling and is continuing to press Congress on the citizenship question for immigrants.