STATEMENT: A Clean Dream Act is Urgently Needed to Protect Our Country’s Dreamers and Unleash Their Full Potential

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the Dream Act of 2017, which would give young unauthorized immigrants a pathway to citizenship. Since its first introduction in 2001 by Sens. Durbin and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Dream Act has always received bipartisan support, reflecting significant support for the legislation. The American public is strongly in favor as well: Nearly 8 in 10 registered voters, including more than 7 in 10 registered Republicans, believe DREAMers should be allowed to remain in the United States legally. Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

Sens. Durbin and Graham have rightly recognized the urgent need for legislation to provide a permanent pathway to legal status and citizenship for DREAMers. Studies have found that beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—which has allowed nearly 800,000 young people who came to the country as children to come forward, pass background checks, and obtain permission to live and work in the United States lawfully—have pursued higher educationearned better wages to support their families, and become integral members of American communities throughout the country. The permanent pathway to citizenship in the Dream Act of 2017, as previous research has shown, would bring even greater benefits to the nation as a whole—and to individual states. Most importantly, it’s the right thing to do.

DACA recipients today are facing a grave new threat brought by 10 states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. It is up to the Trump administration to, in the first instance, maintain and defend current protections for DREAMers. But ultimately, the responsibility falls to Congress to provide permanent protection that will end the uncertainty and unleash the full potential of these young people to contribute to the country that is their home.

The Dream Act is too critical to wait—and too important to be tied to any other debate. Congress should quickly bring this clean bill to a vote, and we call on President Trump to preserve DACA.

CAP experts are available to speak on this topic. To coordinate, please contact Tanya Arditi at tarditi@americanprogress.org or 202-741-6258.

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