UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--H.R. 6; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 133
(Senate - July 28, 2020)

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[Pages S4536-S4539]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                   UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--H.R. 6

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, last month, in a landmark decision, the 
Supreme Court rejected President Trump's effort to repeal deportation 
protections for Dreamers. Those are the young immigrants who came to 
the United States as children.
  In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court held that 
President Trump's attempt to rescind DACA, Deferred Action for 
Childhood Arrivals, was ``arbitrary and capricious.''
  Those were the words of the Court.
  More than a month later, the Trump administration has refused to 
restore the DACA Program despite the decision written by the Chief 
Justice. The administration is now in open defiance of the Supreme 
Court when it comes to the DACA Program. The stakes are too high, both 
for the rule of law and the lives of these young Dreamers, for us to 
ignore it. Republicans and Democrats in Congress need to come together 
to compel the President to immediately comply with the Supreme Court 
  On June 4, 2019, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6. In 2019, 

[[Page S4537]]

passed H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act. This legislation would give 
Dreamers a path to citizenship, and it passed on a strong bipartisan 
vote. The Dream and Promise Act has been pending in the Senate on the 
desk of Senator McConnell for more than a year.
  Last month, I sent a letter signed by all 47 Democratic Senators, 
calling on Majority Leader McConnell to immediately schedule a vote on 
the Dream and Promise Act. As of today, Senator McConnell has not even 
replied to this letter. Since Senator McConnell refuses to take any 
action to address the plight of these Dreamers, I will ask unanimous 
consent at this point for the Senate to pass the bipartisan Dream and 
Promise Act.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to 
the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 112, H.R. 6, the American 
Dream and Promise Act; further, that the bill be considered read a 
third time and passed; and that the motion to reconsider be considered 
made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. LANKFORD. Madam President, reserving the right to object, Senator 
Durbin knows extremely well that unanimous consent is trying to get all 
100 Senators to agree on something.
  Senator Durbin has done remarkable work for years advocating on the 
issue of immigration, and he knows exceptionally well what a difficult 
issue this is. He has been involved in countless debates and 
negotiations dealing with this issue, and there is certainly not 100 
percent agreement on a House bill that passed in 2019 on how to solve 
  So it is not going to pass. I certainly will object in a moment to 
  This bill far exceeds just dealing with DACA. As this body knows very 
well, there were four separate votes dealing with immigration in 
February of 2018. At that time, three of those dealt with the issue of 
DACA, and none of those actually were able to get 60 votes to be able 
to pass.
  The Trump administration was very engaged in those negotiations, and 
the White House itself brought a proposal to deal with DACA and 
multiple other issues with immigration. It failed to get 60 votes to 
move it in 2018, and the Court at that time swooped it up and said they 
wanted to be able to look at it.
  Now 2 years later, the Court finally responded, putting it back into 
the administration's hands and, quite frankly, back into Congress's 
  I will tell you, I wish the Court had not engaged in 2018 because 
there was a lot of engagement from the Trump administration, from the 
Senate, and from the House to be able to come to a point of resolution, 
but that has to begin again with bipartisan negotiations through a very 
complicated issue.
  President Trump has stated numerous times in public interviews and in 
private conversations that he wants to do something to take care of 
those kids in DACA, but that is not what this particular bill does. 
This particular bill far exceeds just the DACA population. In fact, the 
DACA population is defined as the group that was 16 years old and in 
the United States before June 15, 2017. This bill deals with 18-year-
olds in the United States just 4 years ago and before, greatly 
increasing the population in the conversation. So this is not just a 
DACA conversation; this is a much larger bill than just a DACA bill in 
that sense.
  While I do agree we do need to continue bipartisan conversations--and 
President Trump has expressed a desire to engage in that--I think this 
is something the White House, the House, and the Senate should work out 
and not try to have all 100 Senators agree on something that comes to 
the floor today that has not gone through the proper debate and does 
not have all three bodies engaged in the process.
  With that, I would object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, I regret the fact that the Senator 
objected. I am not surprised, but I understand his statement. I do hope 
that he feels as I do that we should be working in a bipartisan fashion 
to find an answer to this challenge.
  I have been working on this Dream Act for a number of years. Over 
780,000 young people have signed up for DACA, and many more are 
currently eligible, and I would like to address their plight in just a 
moment here on the floor. But I thank the Senator from Oklahoma for the 
encouraging words to continue this effort. It is long past time for us 
to find a bipartisan answer to this situation.
  It was, in fact, 10 years ago when I joined with Senator Richard 
Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, on a bipartisan basis to call on 
President Obama to use his legal authority to protect Dreamers from 
deportation. President Obama responded by creating the DACA Program. 
DACA provides temporary protection from deportation of Dreamers if they 
register with the government, pay a fee, and pass criminal and national 
security background checks.
  I got started on this 20 years ago. I know you have to be patient to 
serve in the U.S. Senate, but I am losing my patience, not for my own 
plight and situation but for these young people. We know their 
circumstances. They were brought to this country as infants, toddlers, 
and little kids. They grew up here thinking this was home. It was home. 
They went to our schools. They pledged allegiance to our flag. They 
counted themselves as just another American kid. Then, sometime when 
they were teenagers, mom and dad sat down with them and said: We have a 
serious matter to discuss with you. It turns out you are undocumented. 
Technically, you are illegal in your presence in the United States, and 
let us warn you that at any moment you could be stopped, arrested, and 
deported. In fact, they might even drag many members of the family 
along with you if that circumstance should apply.
  Imagine growing up with that as a teenager, with all the things you 
worry about in adolescence, worrying about a knock on the door and 
deportation that might drag along other members of your family. That is 
how these kids lived. That is how they grew up.
  One of them came to my attention in Chicago. Her name is Tereza Lee. 
Tereza came to the United States originally from Korea through Brazil. 
She came to Chicago with her family on a visitor visa at the age of 
2. Her family stayed. Most of them reached legal status, but they never 
filed any papers for Tereza. She didn't discover until she was in high 
school that she was an undocumented person in America.

  She just happened to have an extraordinary talent as a musician. She 
signed up for a program known as the MERIT Music Program. They taught 
her how to play the piano, which she had already started learning. She 
was found so phenomenal that by the end of her high school years, her 
instructor said: Why don't you apply to the great music schools of 
America--Juilliard or the Manhattan conservatory of music?
  She started to fill out the application with her mom and came to the 
section where it said ``citizenship,'' and she said: What are we 
supposed to put there, Mom?
  And her mom said: I don't know. We better call the office of Senator 
  They called us, and we learned for the first time of Tereza's 
situation. Under the law of America, despite the fact that this 2-year-
old girl who arrived in the United States and now is 18 years of age--
under the laws of the United States, she was compelled to leave the 
United States for 10 years and apply to come back in.
  How could you do that? She didn't choose to come to this country. She 
didn't choose not to file for the right legal papers. She was the 
victim of this situation. So, on her behalf, I introduced the DREAM 
Act, and over the years, I have tried my level best in every way 
imaginable to pass it and make it the law of the land so that young 
people just like her can have a chance to earn their way to permanent 
status in the United States and ultimately to citizenship.
  I often fail to tell the end of this story, and I want to tell it 
because many people say: What ever happened to Tereza Lee? Well, the 
fact is, she was accepted by the Manhattan conservatory of music, and 
these wonderful people in Chicago--including my dear friend Joan 
Harris--said: We will pay for her education. She is so good.
  They did it. She finished. She married an American Jazz musician and

[[Page S4538]]

became an American citizen by virtue of that decision. They now have 
three children. She just emailed me last week. She just got her Ph.D. 
in music. She has performed in Carnegie Hall. She is an amazing young 
woman. She was the first Dreamer.
  That is not a unique story. I have come to the floor over 100 times 
and told stories just like that of young people brought to the United 
States who are remarkable and who could really add so much to this 
  There have been some 800,000 Dreamers who have come forward to sign 
up for DACA, the program we discussed earlier. DACA, under President 
Obama, by Executive order, unleashed the full potential of many of 
these Dreamers for the first time. They could be public about their 
status, go to college, and do things they dreamed of. Many of them 
today are contributing to this country as soldiers and teachers and 
owners of small businesses and healthcare workers.
  More than 200,000 DACA recipients are essential, critical, 
infrastructure workers. That is not my term; that is a term of the 
Donald Trump Department of Homeland Security. That is how they are 
classified: essential, critical infrastructure workers; 200,000--a 
fourth of the DACA recipients. Among them are 41,700 DACA recipients in 
the healthcare industry--doctors, intensive care nurses, paramedics, 
respiratory therapists, and health professionals like the one I will 
talk about in just a moment.
  But on September 5, 2017, despite his assurances to me and so many 
others that he would take special care of these young people, these 
Dreamers, President Trump repealed DACA. Hundreds of thousands of 
Dreamers faced losing their work permits and being deported out of the 
United States to countries they didn't even remember.
  Federal courts stepped in and ordered the Trump administration to 
continue the DACA Program while they resolved in court whether the 
President's actions were proper. However, Dreamers who have not 
received DACA protection have been blocked from applying for this 
protection now for almost 3 years. For example, children cannot apply 
for DACA until they reach the age of 15. The Center for American 
Progress estimates that approximately 300,000 Dreamers have been unable 
to apply for this program since President Trump abolished it--or tried 
to--on September 5, 2017. Fifty-five thousand of those young people 
have turned 15 in that period of time.
  Since the Supreme Court decision more than a month ago, the Trump 
administration--the Trump administration--has failed to comply with 
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts' order rejecting the 
repeal of DACA and requiring the Trump administration to reopen the 
program. The Trump administration is knowingly avoiding and violating 
the order of this Court.
  Two weeks ago, I joined with Senator Kamala Harris in leading a 
letter from 33 Senators to the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, 
Chad Wolf. Our letter called on the Trump administration to immediately 
comply with the Supreme Court decision and reopen DACA for those who 
want to seek admission or at least protection under that program. So 
far, of course, we have not received a response to our letter, but that 
is not unusual with this administration.
  Ten days ago, a Federal judge issued an order for the Trump 
administration to follow the law and follow the order of the Supreme 
Court and begin accepting new applications for DACA. So earlier today, 
Acting Secretary Chad Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security 
finally responded. Here is what he said: ``The Department of Homeland 
Security will take action to thoughtfully consider the future of DACA 
policy, including whether to fully rescind the program.'' He said: ``In 
the interim, DHS will reject all initial requests for DACA.'' That is 
in open defiance of the order of the Supreme Court in the decision 
issued by Chief Justice John Roberts--open defiance by the President 
and his administration. What on Earth is this supposed to mean?

  If the Trump administration wants to repeal DACA again--and I pray 
that they won't--they can certainly try, and they can see if that 
action would be arbitrary, capricious, or would somehow withstand legal 
scrutiny. But under our system of separation of powers, the executive 
branch of government does not get to ``thoughtfully consider'' whether 
to comply with a Supreme Court order for some undefined period of time.
  Let's be clear. The Supreme Court rejected the repeal of DACA. That 
means DACA returns to its original status, and the Trump administration 
must reopen the program, and they must do it now. Instead, Mr. Wolf is 
saying the DHS is going to turn away 300,000 Dreamers eligible for DACA 
who have not had a chance to apply because the case has been in court.
  Mr. Wolf claims the administration is following the law, but it is 
notable that the Department of Homeland Security website still features 
a statement from a DHS official saying the Supreme Court's decision 
``has no basis in law.''
  After the Supreme Court decision, President Trump tweeted: ``I have 
wanted to take care of DACA recipients better than the Do Nothing 
Democrats, but for 2 years they have refused to negotiate.'' Well, here 
is the reality, and it isn't the President's tweet. The President has 
rejected numerous bipartisan deals to protect the Dreamers.
  Take one example--February 15, 2018. The Senate considered bipartisan 
legislation by Republican Senator Mike Rounds and Independent Senator 
Angus King. The bill, which included a path to citizenship for 
Dreamers, was supported by a bipartisan majority of Senators. It failed 
to reach 60 votes that it needed to pass the Senate because President 
Trump opposed it. Remember when he said that the Democrats were at 
fault here, that there were no bipartisan measures to solve the 
problem? Here was a bipartisan measure that he openly opposed. On the 
same day, the Senate voted on the President's immigration proposal. The 
Trump plan failed by a bipartisan majority of 39 to 60.
  Over the years, I have come to the floor of the Senate many times to 
tell the stories of Dreamers. These stories tell the whole story, as 
far as I am concerned, as to what is at stake with the future of DACA 
and the Dream Act.
  Let me tell you the story today about this young man, Juan Alvarez--
125th Dreamer--whom I have come to the floor to introduce to the Senate 
and the people who are watching.
  He came to the United States from Mexico at 3 years of age and grew 
up in Compton, CA. A great student. From a young age, he wanted to get 
involved in healthcare, but because of his immigration status--
undocumented--he was unable to attend medical or nursing school. 
Instead, he went to the California State University in Long Beach, 
where he completed a bachelor of science degree in nutrition and 
dietetics. Today, thanks to DACA, Juan is working as a dietitian at an 
acute care hospital in Los Angeles.
  He sent me a letter, and here is what he said:

       I never imagined that I would be able to work in the field 
     that I love and am passionate about--but thanks to DACA, that 
     was made possible. Simply said, DACA has opened doors for me 
     that I once thought were bolted shut and completely out of 

  Now, Juan Alvarez is on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. He 
is part of this hospital's critical care team treating patients with 
coronavirus. Juan's role is to ensure that patients receive adequate 
nutrition during their hospital stay so they survive. Here is what he 
said about this experience:

       I am in constant fear of being infected and then infecting 
     my family. But as an essential healthcare worker, I continue 
     to show up to work and put myself at risk so that I can 
     continue to serve my patients. While I do it to continue to 
     help my patients and make sure that they are well nourished 
     and strong enough to fight off the virus, I cannot set aside 
     how worried I am myself.

  I want to thank Juan Alvarez for his service. He is an immigrant 
health hero. He is a DACA health hero. He is putting himself and his 
family at risk to save the lives of other Americans. He shouldn't have 
to worry about whether he is going to be deported.
  Will America be a stronger country if we tell him to leave or if we 
send him back to Mexico, which he doesn't even remember, or if we allow 
him to become a citizen and to use his skills and education and 
training to continue to help others? I think the answer is clear.
  Juan and hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers are counting on 

[[Page S4539]]

of us who serve in the Senate to solve this crisis that President Trump 
has created.
  I am sorry there was an objection to the Dream and Promise Act today. 
So long as I am a U.S. Senator, I will continue to come to this floor 
day after day, week after week, and month after month until the Senate 
gives Juan Alvarez a chance to become part of America's future. It 
would be an American tragedy to deport this wonderful and talented 
young healthcare worker who is literally saving lives as we meet today 
in the Senate.
  We must ensure that Juan and hundreds of thousands of others in our 
essential workforce are not forced to stop when the need for their 
service has never been greater. We must give them the chance they 
deserve to become part of the American family.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota.
  Mr. CRAMER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered