Senator Introduces Homeland Security Secretary to ‘Hundreds’ of Illegals—at Capitol

By Penny Starr | June 29, 2011 | 1:53pm EDT

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) at a June 28, 2011 hearing on the DREAM Act. ( Starr)

( - Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced a crowd of what he described as "hundreds" of illegal aliens to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and others attending a congressional hearing focusing on the DREAM Act, a bill Durbin is sponsoring that would give illegal aliens who came to the United States as minors a path to citizenship provided they meet certain conditions.

Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security is responsible for enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.

Durbin began Tuesday's hearing, held by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, by personally introducing a number of the illegal aliens by name, citing elements of their personal histories. He then asked for all the illegal aliens in the room who would qualify for an amnesty under the Dream Act—and who thus call themselves “Dreamers”--to stand up so they could be recognized.

The majority of the people in the room then stood up—just behind Napolitano who was seated at the witness’s table in front of the senators on the subcommittee, whose job it is to oversee the administration’s enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.

“The young people who would be eligible for the DREAM Act call themselves Dreamers,” Durbin said in his introductory remarks. “And over the years I've met a lot of them, and hundreds of them are here today. I want to introduce a few of them.”

From among the “hundreds” of “Dreamers” attending the hearing, Durbin personally introduced only seven—each of them with an exemplary record of achievement.

One was Tolu Olubunmi, who Durbin said had been unable to use the chemical engineering degree she earned at a Virginia university because she is “undocumented.”

Tolu Olubunmi, please stand,” said Durbin. “Brought to the United States from Nigeria as a child, in 2002, she graduated from a prestigious university in Virginia with a degree in chemical engineering. It has been nine years since she graduated. She has yet to work a day as a chemical engineer because she is undocumented.”

Another was Monji Dolon, who has been unable to use the degree he earned from the University of North Carolina because he is “undocumented.”

“Monji Dolon, please stand up if you're here, Monji,” said Durbin. “His parents brought him here from Bangladesh in 1991 when he was 5 years old. In 2008, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Now he is being courted by the technology industry. He has even been offered a job as a lead engineer for a start-up in Silicon Valley.

“He cannot accept the job offers he has received,” said Durbin, “because he is undocumented.”

At the end of his opening remarks, Durbin said: “There are many others here today that I would like to introduce, but I don't have the time to do it. Let me ask everyone here today who is a Dreamer, a DREAM Act student, to stand and be recognized.”

At this point, most of the audience in the hearing room stood up.

In her own introductory remarks, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano said: “It simply doesn't make sense from a law enforcement perspective to expend limited law enforcement resources on young people who pose no threat to public safety, have grown up here and want to contribute to our country by serving in the military or going to college.”

"Yet as long as there are no legal options available for them to adjust their immigration status, they will be part of the population subject to immigration enforcement," said Napolitano.

The DREAM Act, she said, would establish “a rigorous process for those who enter the United States illegally as children, but allows them to obtain conditional permanent resident status by proving that they meet several strict requirements.”

Passage of the act, she said, “would completely eliminate them from the population that is subject to immigration enforcement.”

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