The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Sens. Durbin, Lugar Ask DHS to Stop Deporting Young Students

Last updated: July 31, 2020 | April 21, 2010 | Paolo Reyna

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) sent a letter asking Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to stop the deportation of young immigrants who would be eligible for legal residence under the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, a bill that would give a pathway to undocumented students to become permanent residents and possibly citizens and facilitate their access to college, provided they meet a list of criteria.

Here’s a portion of the letter, attached to a press release sent out by Durbin:

We respectfully request that you grant deferred action to individuals who would be eligible for cancellation of removal or a stay of removal under S. 729, the DREAM Act, bipartisan immigration reform legislation that we have introduced…

Though they are technically out of status, DREAM Act students should not be removed from the United States. The DREAM Act is narrowly tailored to assist only a select group of young people, many of whom came here with their parents at an age when they were too young to understand the consequences of their actions.

Deferred action for DREAM Act students would conserve limited enforcement resources. DREAM Act students are not, and should not be, an enforcement priority for DHS…

What Durbin and Lugar are pushing for is a bill they re-introduced in 2009; the House version of the bill is called the “American Dream Act.” Similar legislation to the DREAM Act was first introduced in Congress in 2001 under the name “Student Adjustment Act.” In 2007, the legislation failed along with comprehensive immigration reform. Some civil rights groups are already applauding the senators’ leadership on this bill.

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