Durbin: Democrats close to deal on Dream Act

Monday, September 18, 2017 05:05PM
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, introduced the Dream Act about 16 years ago.


U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said Monday that the Democrats are close to a deal on the Dream Act for immigrant children.

About 16 years ago, Durbin introduced the Dream Act, which provides a path to citizenship for children brought to the United States illegally by their parents. The legislation failed and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was put in its place by executive order by President Barack Obama.

But now, after President Donald Trump has vowed to end DACA, Durbin is once again pushing the Dream Act to make comeback.

"The right answer I believe is to pass the Dream Act finally and say young people have a chance to prove themselves to earn their way to legal status earn their way to citizenship," Durbin said.

The Dream Act would allow undocumented young people to serve in the military. Currently, there are over 10,000 Chicago Public Schools students who serve on the junior ROTC - and many are "Dreamers" who want to continue a military career, but cannot because of their illegal status.

"I've had several that are high-ranking leaders within our hierarchy of Chicago that happened to be Dreamers," said Col.(Ret.) Daniel Baggio, CPS director of military instruction.

Baggio said many of the junior ROTC members are anxious to give back to a country that gave them an education because the president has said he likes the Dreamers and over 75 percent of Americans support a path their legal status.

Durbin and his Democratic colleagues are hopeful a deal is close with Trump.

"We are moving forward with the Dream Act, which includes citizenship as its goal, we are also putting together a border security package that can meet the approval of the president,' he said.

Durbin said the border security package Democrats are proposing does not include the construction of a wall. Last week, President Trump tweeted the wall will continue to be built. At the same time, Trump sent out tweets in support of Dreamers. Regardless, without the protection of DACA, Dreamers remain scared about their uncertain future.
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