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Graham, Durbin To DREAMers: 'Don't Give Up Hope, You Have Done Nothing Wrong'

With the Trump administration’s decision to gradually end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, there’s a debate about what to do with the nearly 800,000 illegal aliens who benefit from this Obama-era program. It’s a program that has serious constitutional questions and has remained controversial since its inception. It was meant as a stopgap measure, and now Congress has the ability to make it right. The Department of Homeland Security announced that it would immediately begin winding down the program. In short, DACA allows illegal aliens who entered the U.S. as minors to be shielded from deportation if they meet certain requirements. If a deferment is granted, these DREAMers are able to obtain work and study permits. Earlier this afternoon, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) held a press conference to announce their proposed legislation to remedy this issue. PBS listed the senators’ criteria for permanent legal status:

Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children;

Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;

Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military;

Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;

Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and

Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.

Durbin added that the time for action is now, and that the DREAMers should not lose hope. Graham added that the DREAMers have done nothing wrong. The full press conference is featured below:

In July, Graham and Durbin proposed DREAM Act legislation when it was unknown if the Trump administration would defend it or not (via The Hill):

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) plan on Thursday to introduce a new version of a bill granting legal status and a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The proposal comes as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides temporary relief from deportation to those immigrants, who are known as "Dreamers," faces a legal challenge from Texas and nine other states.

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