Durbin rallying support for Dream Act
Dec. 04--U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Monday said he is "hopeful but not confident" that Congress will pass the Dream Act and create a path to citizenship for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children.
Durbin, the second-ranking Senate Democrat and a top sponsor of the bipartisan bill, is encouraging his colleagues to join him in blocking spending legislation if the legal status of Dreamers isn't resolved, a move that could lead to a government shutdown.
"We have to assert ourselves in the minority and make it clear that we are not going to vote for certain legislation -- and our votes are needed -- unless this is included as part of the package," Durbin said.
Congress faces a Friday deadline to fund the government through the end of next September.
The Dream Act would grant "conditional permanent residency" to an estimated 1.8 million immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before age 18 and can meet requirements similar to those under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
President Donald Trump dissolved the DACA program in September and set a March 5 deadline for Congress to act. By then, permits will begin to expire at a rate of nearly 1,000 per day.
"So far, I've gotten good responses. Not enough to say I'm confident yet but certainly to say I'm hopeful," Durbin said.
He joined business, labor and faith leaders, and Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-3rd,who said he is working with a bipartisan group on immigration reform, at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce on Monday to rally support for the Dream Act.
"It's only common sense that DACA recipients are given a real opportunity to become U.S. citizens," Lipinski said. "Even President Donald Trump, at a time or two, has agreed with that."