Durbin and Graham Plan Bill to Give DREAMers Legal Status

Hope to have legislation ready before President-elect Donald Trump takes office

Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, left, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, are working to try and give young undocumented immigrants legal status, possibly before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sens. Richard J. Durbin, D-Illinois, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, are working to draft legislation to give young undocumented immigrants legal status.

The action comes after President Barack Obama said he would not take action to pardon DREAMERs — undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children who meet the requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors Act — before he left office.

The goal is to finish the bill before a new Congress is sworn in and before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump to have another attempt at immigration reform in the future.

During the campaign, Trump pledged to revoke the deferred action via Obama's executive order.

Durbin said he thinks the effort will have bipartisan support.

“I’ve talked to a number of my colleagues on the floor, on both sides of the aisle about this, and there are strong emotions in favor of helping these young people,” Durbin said, according to the Washington Times.

Graham said he opposed the action from the Obama administration but said many young undocumented immigrants were “tricked” into the program.

“I cannot live with myself, quite frankly, as a United States senator that would take 740,000 people that voluntarily came forward and throw them to the wolves,” Mr. Graham said on Fox News.

Graham and Durbin were part of the “Gang of Eight” that authored a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013 that passed in the Senate but stalled in the House.

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