Bipartisan Dream Act Highlights Broad Support for Existing Immigrant Youth Protections

July 20, 2017

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Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

Bipartisan Dream Act Highlights Broad Support for Existing Immigrant Youth Protections

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today introduced a new Dream Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide a pathway to legal status for some undocumented immigrant youth. The bill would provide a path to legal status for immigrant youth who arrived in the U.S. as children and who either attend college or perform military service.

The introduction comes amidst news media reports that Trump administration officials are pushing to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, despite the president’s previous comments that he would “work something out” for immigrant youth and that they can “rest easy.” DACA, which has been in place since 2012, authorizes some young immigrants to live and work in the U.S. temporarily.

Kamal Essaheb, policy and advocacy director at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“It is encouraging to see members of Congress from both parties willing to work together to bring forward the Dream Act, which has always enjoyed broad, bipartisan support. The legislation would provide a necessary, longer-term solution for immigrant youth who have fought for the ability to work, go to school, and live without fear of deportation.

“However, politicians who would try to hold the lives of immigrant youth hostage to get more immigration enforcement should be ashamed.

“Nor should any bill introduction serve to diminish the critical importance of DACA, which has fundamentally enhanced the lives of nearly 800,000 people, including my own.

“Thanks to DACA, our country has seen what people can accomplish when given an opportunity to contribute more fully to their communities. DACA works, and it should be kept in place regardless of any potential legislation. President Trump needs to end the uncertainty his administration has imposed on immigrant youth and unequivocally support DACA.”

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