(CNSNews.com) - Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said in a congressional hearing Tuesday that a young person who is an illegal alien in the United States today may someday become president.
“When I look around this room, I see America's future, our doctors, our teachers, our nurses, our engineers, our scientists, our soldiers, our congressmen, our senators, and maybe our president,” Durbin said immediately after having asked all young persons in the room to stand if they were currently undocumented aliens who would be eligible to become citizens if the DREAM Act were passed.
As a videotape of the hearing shows, a large portion of the audience in the room rose at Durbin's request. Durbin also said in his introductory remarks that there were "hundreds" of young people in the room eligible to become beneficiaries of the DREAM Act.
“I ask my colleagues to consider the plight of these young people who find themselves in a legal twilight zone through no fault of their own,” said Durbin. “They are willing to serve the country they love. All they're asking for is a chance.”
Making the young people Durbin was speaking of eligible to become president would require more than passage of the DREAM Act, however. It would require a constitutional amendment.
As the U.S. Constitution now stands, even legal immigrants are not eligible to serve as president. Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution says: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
“Opponents of this bill say they sympathize with DREAM Act students, but they criticize the bill and offer no alternative,” Durbin said after stating his belief that one of the illegal-alien students might become president someday.
“Do they want these young people to leave, to go back to countries where they may never have lived or don't remember, or to continue living in the shadows and in doubt about the future?” said Durbin.
“These DREAMers would happily go to the back of any line and wait their turn for citizenship, but there is no line for them to get into,” said Durbin. “I urged my colleagues to support the DREAM Act. It is, I think, one of the most compelling human rights issues of our time in America.”
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) would authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security “to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional nonimmigrant status, an alien who … entered the United States before his or her 16th birthday and has been present in the United States for at least five years” subject to certain conditions, including that the person has been admitted to college or earned a high school diploma.