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On Senate Floor, Senator Durbin Celebrates DACA Anniversary and DREAMer Accomplishments

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“They are only asking for a chance to give back to their home”

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), the champion of the DREAM Act for over a decade, took to the Senate floor today to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the successes of the young people it benefits.

For years, Senator Durbin has taken to the Senate floor to talk about the character and accomplishments of DREAMers and their families.  Today, he talked about how DACA has transformed many people’s lives, and called on Congress to pass legislation to provide access to citizenship for them and others like them.  “America is their home,” Durbin said.  “They are only asking for a chance to give back to their home.”

Senator Durbin was instrumental in pressing the President to take bold action and create the DACA program on June 15, 2012.  Now, Durbin is a leader in the Gang of Eight working to pass commonsense immigration reform.  The bipartisan Senate bill would put most undocumented immigrants here today on a path to citizenship in thirteen years, with an accelerated program for DREAMers.

In his floor speech, Durbin described a DACA workshop that he and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) held on Chicago’s Navy Pier shortly after the policy took effect (rough transcript by America’s Voice): “The line started forming ad midnight.  At midnight, these families stood there – Mom, Dad, and their son or daughter, waiting for a chance for their son or daughter to apply for this decision from President Obama.  Many of the parents were undocumented themselves and they risked it to come and apply.  The thought of saving a child, giving that child a chance was enough to take the risk.  It turned out that over 12,000 people showed up. . . .  We knew then that this was an idea whose time has come.”

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, remarked:

Deferred Action for Dreamers was a huge victory and the turning point in the effort to win immigration reform. We salute the Dreamers who made it happen, Senator Durbin who is their champion and President Obama for taking bold action.

For more stories of DREAMers, see Senator Durbin’s YouTube page and web site.