WASHINGTON — South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin announced Thursday they will propose bipartisan legislation to give legal status to individuals illegally brought to the U.S. as children — who are usually known as “DREAMers.”
The legislation, previously championed by the Obama administration, is no longer a priority for the current White House, but that has not stopped some members from pushing the immigration bill.
“These young people have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here,” Graham said in a statement. “We should not squander these young people’s talents and penalize our own nation. Our legislation would allow these young people – who grew up in the United States – to contribute more fully to the country they love.”
Durbin joined him in that sentiment saying, “Hundreds of thousands of talented young people who have grown up in our country are at risk of deportation to countries they barely remember. I’ll do everything in my power as a United States Senator to protect these Dreamers and give them the chance to become American citizens so they can contribute to a brighter future for all Americans.”
He added, “I first introduced the Dream Act 16 years ago and I’ll continue fighting until it becomes the law of the land. I thank Senator Graham for partnering with me in this bipartisan effort.”
However, the White House already stated earlier Thursday it would not support the legislation, telling McClatchy the administration wants to focus on “enforcement first.” (RELATED: White House Unlikely To Support Senate Bill For ‘Dreamers’)
The bill would grant lawful permanent resident status to these DREAMers if they have lived in the U.S. for a long period of time since they were children; graduated from college; pursued higher education; worked lawfully for at least 3 years or served in the military; pass security background checks; understand the English language and history of the U.S.; have not committed a felony or other serious crime.