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New Dream Act Bill An Important First Step and a Moment of Truth for GOP Senators

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Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are set to unveil a bipartisan version of the Dream Act, legislation to provide a road to citizenship for nearly 2 million Dreamers who are Americans in all but paperwork.

The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

The bipartisan Dream Act introduction in the Senate Judiciary Committee will kick the immigration legislative debate into high gear. The bill represents an important first step toward the broader goal of putting all 11 million undocumented immigrants on pathways to citizenship.

It sets up a moment of truth for Republicans who portray themselves as champions of Dreamers and sit on Senate Judiciary. In his reelection campaign in 2020, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) promised to support a standalone Dream bill. During a 2020 Senate debate, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) reiterated his support for a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Here is their chance to step up and keep their word. 

For the American people, this is a settled debate. The vast majority of Americans support immigration, pro-immigrant policies and especially permanent solutions for undocumented immigrants (see below for results from a Quinnipiac poll released yesterday).

This public will creates political momentum for a legislative breakthrough. It’s time for Congress to catch up with the American people and make real what is patently clear to all of us: Dreamers – and all undocumented immigrants – should be formally recognized as the Americans they already are.

The Quinnipiac University national poll released yesterday included several immigration questions that underscore the above points (see questions 50 and 51), including the findings: 

  • By an 83-12% margin, Americans support Dreamers’ citizenship, described in the Quinnipiac poll as “allowing undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to remain in the United States and eventually apply for citizenship.” 
  • Republican respondents support Dreamers’ citizenship by a 66-30% margin. The Quinnipiac poll found that 99% of Democratic respondents, 83% of Independents, and 66% of Republicans.
  • By a 74-20% margin, Americans support undocumented immigrants’ permanent residency, with a strong majority of 65% favoring citizenship. The Quinnipiac poll also asked a three-part question whether “undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States” should be allowed to: (a) stay in the United States and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship; (b) allowed to remain in the United States, but not be allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship; or (c) be required to leave the U.S. By a combined 74-20% margin, Americans supported either citizenship (65% majority, including a plurality of 41% of Republicans) or permanent residency short of citizenship (9% support); while just 20% supported the expulsion option.