The struggle for this legislation was long and often arduous. While polls previously indicated that the vast majority of American voters would like DACA recipients to stay in the US, the law's enactment this week marks the 20th year since the very first version of the DREAM Act was introduced.
"The Dream act was also incorporated into the 2013 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act that Durbin and Graham co-authored as part of the Gang of Eight – four Democrats and four Republicans, "said Durbin's office. "The 2013 bill was passed by the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote of 68-32, but the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives refused to consider it."
The Democrats passed a law in 2019 aimed at getting DACA recipients along with TPS and DED (deferred enforced departure) holders on their way to citizenship after taking control of the House of Representatives in 2018 – Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. After two US Senate wins in Georgia that cemented democratic control over the US Senate, 2021 is the best opportunity in years to finally get DACA recipients – and all 11 million undocumented immigrants – on their way to citizenship .
During his ground-breaking Thursday, Durbin continued to comment on the crucial role hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients like Ana have played amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. She traveled as a nurse in Utah California, Massachusetts, Idaho, and Texas are helping with patient care.
Twenty years ago I went to the Senate to introduce the #DreamAct for the first time. I am proud to do it all over again today. It's time to finally fix our broken immigration system. https://t.co/wGuXoetY0b
– Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) February 4, 2021
"If we lost Ana and people like her in the middle of a pandemic, what would we think?" Said Durbin in his remarks. “So the fight continues for Ana and for hundreds of thousands like her who just want the chance to earn their way to legal status and citizenship in the United States. It would be a tragedy for us to turn away these brave ones. talented and determined professionals in the midst of this pandemic. So we have to get to work in the Justice Committee and the Senate. This is the year. This is the time. When we can come together and change America's future. "
Young immigrants and lawyers who have been fighting for permanent protection for years now celebrated the news of the law's introduction. They called on lawmakers to pass laws protecting young immigrants without poison pill changes that hurt other communities.
“The reintroduction of tThe dream act in tThe Senate is direct evidence of the undeniable power of immigrant youth and our allies who have campaigned for meaningful legislation that protects our communities without harm Compromise to improve enforcement and criminalization of immigrants, ”said Greisa Martinez Rosas, executive director of United We Dream, in a statement received by Daily Kos. "Protection for some immigrants should never be come at the expense of imprisoning and deporting others. A clean DREAM bill would do just that to nearly two million undocumented people across the country. "
"We support all opportunities to give undocumented citizens a route to citizenship that does not increase the deportation power of ICE and CBP, especially as far too many immigrants continue to face detention, deportation and death," she continued.
As Durbin said, this is the year, this is the time. Let's protect Ana and 11 million undocumented immigrants permanently so that they no longer have to live their lives according to the whim of a court decision or a president. "We need you for Ana," Durbin continued. "We want you. We want you to be part of the future of this country because you are such an important part of America today. This dream act means a lot to me. We have to make it law."