Immigration reform champion Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) has been taking to the Senate floor regularly to describe the transformative impact the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is having on people’s lives.
You’d think that policymakers from all political ideologies would support allowing smart, talented, and driven Americans to realize their full potential in the United States. You’d think that was a no-brainer for both Republicans and Democrats, but you’d be wrong.
Republicans like Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), David Vitter (R-LA), and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) have declared these young people to be Public Enemy Number One. They’ve made opposition to DACA and DAPA (the soon-to-be-implemented program for parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents) their singular issue.
In fact, they’re willing to go so far as to stop funding the entire Department of Homeland Security for the year unless they get their way. Already, the House passed a bill that will only fund this critical department contingent IF the DACA and DAPA programs are ended. The bill will soon come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate and many Democrats, including key members of the Leadership like Richard Durbin, are outraged.
In Must-See TV, Senator Durbin had this to say yesterday on the Senate floor:
Why did the Republicans decide that they wanted to make the funding of this Department uncertain and contingent? Well, the reason was they are so angry with President Obama’s executive order on immigration that they are putting America at risk by failing to properly fund the Department of Homeland Security.
Sounds incredible, but it is actually true.
The consequences of failing to fund the Department of Homeland Security are clear. It would embolden terrorists and jeopardize our national security at home and abroad. Durbin argues that gutting DACA and preventing DAPA from moving forward would also harm the national interest, and gives examples.
Take the story of Carlos Martinez, a young man who came to the U.S. in 1991, at the age of nine. In America, Carlos’ father told him to “study, so you don’t have to struggle in life like I have,” and Carlos did just that.
He graduated 9th in his class from a Tucson high school, and paid his way through Arizona State University. Despite never having owned a computer, Carlos graduated with a BS in Computer Engineering and a minor in math and related fields. He was offered jobs at companies like Intel and IBM, but he couldn’t take them because he was undocumented.
Carlos went back to school and got his Masters. Then, in 2012, Carlos was one of the first people to apply for and receive DACA. He immediately began applying for jobs and won a coveted position at IBM.
Durbin told Carlos’ story yesterday on the Senate floor and said:
Is America a better place to have that kind of educated individual working, with good ideas, creating new products, expanding employment opportunities? Of course it is. So now the U.S. House of Representatives [has] decided the best thing for the future of America is to deport Carlos Martinez. Deport Carlos Martinez. And deport those other young students who hold such potential for this country. That’s the House Republican approach to immigration.
By ending the DACA and DAPA programs, Republicans are mandating a firm policy of maximum, unrelenting, indiscriminate deportation. Whether you’re a DREAMer who came here at the age of nine, like Carlos Martinez, or a twenty-year U.S. resident married with children who are American citizens, if Republicans get their way you will be back in line for deportation.
“Will America be stronger if Carlos Martinez is gone?” asked Durbin. The answer should be obvious, and it is to most. But not the Republicans in charge of Congress, apparently.
Watch Sen. Durbin speaking about Carlos on the Senate floor, below: