Senators Re-Introduce Controversial Young Immigrant Amnesty Bill

By Annabel Scott | July 20, 2017 | 8:02pm EDT
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durban (D-Ill.) and Thursday's press conference. (Screengrab: Sen. Graham website)

( – Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durban (D-Ill.) on Thursday launched a new bipartisan bid to pass legislation that would allow young immigrants to earn permanent residence and eventual citizenship.

Co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), the 2007 version of the Dream Act targets a select group of immigrant students who have grown up in the United States.

Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill that he appreciates President Trump’s dedication to deporting criminal illegal aliens and securing the border, but urges the president to be fair to the illegal immigrants brought in by their parents as children.

“The question for the Republican Party is, what do we tell these people? How do we treat them? Here’s my answer: We treat them fairly. We do not pull the rug out from under them,” he said.

“So to President Trump, you’re going to have to make a decision. The campaign is over,” Graham continued. “To the Republican Party, who are we? What do we believe? The moment of reckoning is coming. When they write the history of these times, I’m going to be with these kids.”

“To the people who object to this, I don’t want you to vote for me,” said Graham. “I just don’t see the upside of telling these kids they have to go back and live in the shadows or send them back to a country they have no idea about.”

Durbin said this is an issue he believes could unite the two parties. “This is the one area of immigration where we can find common ground.”

In order to qualify for the Dream Act’s path to lawful permanent residence and eventually citizenship, immigrants:

--Must have been in the country for four years or longer;

--Must have been 17 years or younger when they arrived in the U.S.;

--Must graduate from high school or obtain a GED;

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

--Must pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;

--Must demonstrate proficiency in English language and a knowledge of U.S. history; and

--Must not have committed a felony or other serious crime and not pose a threat to the country.

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