Immigration Reform

___________

  • Fellow Illinoisan,

    On election night, President-elect Trump said, “Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division.”  I hope that Mr. Trump will do his part in bringing our nation together by recognizing that immigration makes our country stronger. One important step that President-elect Trump should take is to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – also known as “DACA.”

    The young people who are eligible for DACA are known as Dreamers. They were brought to the United States as children. They grew up singing the National Anthem and pledging allegiance to the only flag they know – the American flag. We’ve already invested in them by educating them in our schools. It makes no sense to squander their talents by deporting them to countries they barely remember.

    Over the years, I’ve come to the Senate floor dozens of times to tell the stories of Dreamers.  These stories show you what is at stake when we consider the fate of DACA. One of these Dreamers is Asael Reyes.

    When Asael was a 5-year-old boy, his family brought him to the United States from Mexico. Asael grew up on the North Side of Chicago and was a bright child, but when he learned that he was undocumented his life took a downturn. Asael was failing his classes, and he dropped out of high school for six months. But then, in 2012, President Obama announced DACA, and everything changed for Asael. For the first time, Asael felt that he “had a future worth fighting for,” and turned his life around. He improved his grades, worked full-time to support his family, and the little free time he had he spent volunteering with a mentoring program.

    Today, Asael is in his sophomore year in the Honors College at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Every week he delivers food from the college dining halls on bike to a local homeless shelter. Asael dreams of working in Chicago’s city government. He said, “I have a passion for my city, and I feel an obligation to do whatever I can to make it great by serving its communities.”

    Click here to watch me speak on the Senate Floor to share Asael’s DACA story.

    DACA gave Asael the hope he needed to turn his life around. And now he wants to give back to the city – and the country – that he loves. It’d be shameful to play politics with the lives of these young people and wrong to deport them to countries they no longer remember. I’ll remain vigilant to make sure this never happens and will keep fighting so everyone who calls America home is treated with dignity and respect.

    The stories we tell have power, and I want to hear yours. If you or someone you know is a Dreamer or DACA recipient, please share your story by clicking HERE, or posting online using #DACAstory.

    Sincerely, 

    Dick Durbin

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    Fellow Illinoisan,

    I now know the range of human emotions—in six days to go from the heights of the Cubs’ victory in the World Series to last week’s election. But the bedrock principle of America is that we select our leaders and then come together as a country to find common ground and move forward. I congratulate both Secretary Clinton and President-elect Trump on a hard-fought campaign.

    While the Administration will change in January, our core values never will, and I will work with all of my strength each day in the Senate to look out for the most vulnerable among us, and to ensure liberty and equality for every person in America. This includes taking action to protect the hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who have grown up in the United States from the mass deportations that were threatened during the campaign.

    Earlier this week, I took to the U.S. Senate floor to call on President-elect Trump to protect DACA and Dreamers.

    Oscar Cornejo, Jr., is one of these young immigrant students—known as Dreamers—who has received temporary legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Oscar was brought to Park City, Illinois, from Mexico when he was just five years old. He excelled in school and is now a senior at Dartmouth College. Oscar hopes one day to give back to his community by becoming an educator.

    Will America be a stronger country if we deport Oscar, or if he stays here and achieves his dream of becoming an educator? The answer is clear.

    I will fight tooth and nail to protect DACA and the Dreamers who have had the courage to step forward and contribute their talents to our great country. Now is the time for America—this nation of immigrants—to heal the wounds that divided us during this election. President-elect Trump can start by honoring our country’s immigrant heritage and values.

    Sincerely,

    Dick Durbin
    United States Senator

     

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