Durbin: I’ll Try to Include Legalizing DACA Recipients in Talks over ‘Overwhelmed’ Border

On Wednesday’s broadcast of “PBS NewsHour,” Senate Majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) stated that “we are being overwhelmed at our border” and there need to be border policy changes, and that it’s “a serious mistake” that giving protection to DACA recipients isn’t part of the negotiations and “If I get a chance to be part of this immigration negotiation, and I hope I will, I will definitely include that request.”

Co-host Amna Nawaz asked, “We hear[d] President Biden say earlier he’s open to significant changes on border policy. Do you share that view?”

Durbin answered, “Yes, I do. Let’s be open-minded about it. I don’t want to do something that is inconsistent with our country’s values, but I recognize the obvious, we are being overwhelmed at our border by people seeking to come into the United States. We have got to adjust the standards that are used at the border in a reasonable, humane way, but we’ve got to be open to change, Democrats, as well as Republicans.”

Nawaz then asked, “So, what are some of those changes you’d be willing to compromise on that you weren’t before? Would they be tightening asylum rules, for example?”

Durbin responded, “I’d take a look at the asylum language standards, but I’d be very careful, because there are people who are genuinely escaping situations where their lives are in danger, and we don’t want to ignore that possibility. But I also want to make sure that we have a system that makes sense. If I told you the countries that are producing immigrants at our border in the south of the United States, you would be amazed, thousands coming from places like Uzbekistan. You think to yourself, that is not what I expect to hear. What is happening is an obvious move from around the world to use the United States as a refuge.”

Nawaz then asked, “I should ask you too, as part of those talks, what about the DREAMers, those DACA recipients who were brought to the U.S. as children? You have said that you will fight for them repeatedly, but they were not included in these last rounds of talks. What’s your message to them today?”

Durbin answered, “Well, I can just tell you, I think that’s a serious mistake. I have been fighting for these DREAMers for over 20 years since I introduced the legislation. These young people, 800,000 of them or more, should be part of America’s future. And we have to do everything we can to make that happen. If I get a chance to be part of this immigration negotiation, and I hope I will, I will definitely include that request.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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