Democratic Senate Whip Dick Durbin said he was “angry” about President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but remains hopeful Congress will pass its own bill that Trump will sign into law.
“I think the president can help us. We need his voice in support of a good approach. Passing the DREAM Act. Making sure we do it in a bipartisan fashion,” Durbin said Thursday on “Morning Joe.” “I really was saddened, disappointed and maybe even angry with the decision to end DACA. I thought Attorney General Sessions’ comments on this were inappropriate and really didn’t reflect what the president had been saying over and over about ‘we love the dreamers.'”
Durbin said the American electorate supports amnesty for “dreamers” by a large margin, and believes that Congress has a “rare opportunity” to get something substantial done by year’s end.
“The overwhelming public sentiment in America is in support of their cause. And that tells me we have a rare opportunity. I’ve been at this for a long time, we have a rare opportunity to pass bipartisan legislation this year,” he said.
When co-host Joe Scarborough asked if bipartisan legislation on immigration was possible after the hard line rhetoric from the White House, Durbin said Trump personally promised him that they would take care of those affected by DACA.
“He looked me in the eye the day of his inauguration and said, ‘We’re going to take care of those kids, senator.’ And I really want to stand with the president if he is willing to help us reach that goal. I thought it was a setback this week, what happened with DACA. But I believe that we have an opportunity now on a bipartisan basis to pass this measure in the House and the Senate,” he said.
Durbin said that Republicans are crossing party lines to vote for a Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act bill, and he expects more to follow.
“We picked up another sponsor this week. We’re up to four Republicans who are co-sponsoring the Dream Act. We need eight more if we can keep all the Democrats. We can get this done, we need 60 votes in the Senate, we’re moving towards that goal,” Durbin said.
When asked about former White House Adviser Steve Bannon’s comments that the Catholic Church supports the DREAM Act to add more illegal immigrants as parishioners, Durbin called Bannon’s assertion an “outrage.”
“I’m proud of the fact that my church and many others synagogues and temples and churches, Protestant and Catholic alike, across the United States have stood up and said this is the moral and just thing to do. Mr. Bannon of Breitbart doesn’t get it. He believes that they’re doing this just for some economic motive. He ought to stop for a moment and reflect on what the gospel says about what Christ told us to do, when it came to accepting the stranger … what Mr. Bannon said was an outrage,” Durbin said.
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