Richard J Durbin

‘Dreamers,’ Democrats push for DACA
While Dreamers await Supreme Court decision, Democrats push Senate leadership to pass DACA bill

DACA recipients, including Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn (left) Carolina Fung Geng, (3rd from left), plaintiff Martin Batalla Vidal (center) and Eliana Fernández (3rd from right) pump their fists before entering the U.S. Supreme Court before Tuesday’s arguments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Waving American flags and holding up signs that read “Defend DACA” and “Make SCOTUS great again,” hundreds of young immigrants, activists and their supporters demonstrated Tuesday outside the Supreme Court steps as justices inside heard arguments regarding the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Just a few blocks away at the Capitol, meanwhile, congressional Democrats urged Senate leadership to take up House-passed legislation that would ensure protections for this population.

Supreme Court grapples with end of ‘Dreamers’ program
Decision next year could ultimately reshape decades-old immigration debate

A protester holds up a sign during a rally outside of the Supreme Court on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A divided Supreme Court appeared reluctant Tuesday to undo the Trump administration’s decision to end an Obama-era program that gives nearly 700,000 so-called Dreamers the ability to work in the United States and avoid deportation.

During more than an hour of oral arguments, attorneys for challengers told the justices that the Department of Homeland Security — while it has the authority to end the discretionary program — did not adequately explain why the administration chose to do so.

Immigrant ‘Dreamers’ look to Supreme Court, Congress for help
Supreme Court considers DACA cases

Immigration rights demonstrators hold signs in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington in September 2017 to oppose the president’s decision to end the DACA program for “dreamers.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Samuel Cervantes can’t ever imagine returning to Mexico. He hasn’t been back since his family moved to Houston when he was 5. He now fears being deported if the federal government ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

He also fears for his life if forced to return to a country he barely even remembers. 

Supreme Court cases could stir politics on ‘Dreamers’
Suits challenge Trump attempt to revoke Obama deportation protections

The Supreme Court building (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a trio of cases with the potential to reshape the nearly two-decades-old push in Congress for more permanent protections for immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.

The cases center on whether the Trump administration properly decided to cancel an Obama-era program that gives nearly 700,000 so-called Dreamers the ability to work and avoid deportation to countries they left at such a young age that they may not even remember.

Congress can help win the peace in South Sudan
Approving bipartisan Senate resolution is a way to reaffirm U.S. support for peace deal

South Sudanese refugees are helped off a truck at the Kuluba refugee center in northern Uganda in May 2018. (Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar on Thursday pulled back from the brink and agreed to delay the formation of a government of national unity by 100 days. A crucial element of the peace process, this extension buys time to resolve critical components of the agreement, such as decisions on state borders and the reunification of security forces. However, without a new approach and reinvigorated international diplomatic effort to break the political stalemate, parties to South Sudan’s revitalized peace risk finding themselves in the same place early next year.

The consequences could be dire for the people of the east-central African nation: Two-thirds of the population (7.2 million people) are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. While ultimate responsibility rests with the South Sudanese, the U.S. government must play a concerted role in assisting their leaders to establish the necessary conditions for a sustainable peace. Congress can help by swiftly approving a bipartisan resolution reaffirming U.S. support for South Sudan, which was introduced in the Senate by Democrats Chris Coons of Delaware and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois along with Republicans Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Todd Young of Indiana. Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Cory Gardner have since signed on as co-sponsors.

Impeachment strains longstanding bipartisan support for Ukraine
Consensus built on keeping Ukraine inside the Western European camp

President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy look on during a meeting at the United Nations in New York on Sept. 25. (Getty Images file photo)

The bipartisan backing for Ukraine in its long face-off with Russia has been a hallmark of Congress’ role in foreign policymaking for decades. Congress — both parties — has generally been willing to confront Moscow more forcefully over its treatment of Ukraine than the Trump, Obama or George W. Bush White Houses.

But with U.S. policy toward Ukraine the centerpiece of the impeachment inquiry, President Donald Trump’s antipathy toward Kyiv out in the open, and Republicans not wanting to break with their GOP president publicly over Ukraine policy, concern is rising that this longstanding bipartisan consensus to keep Ukraine inside the Western European camp could erode.

Schumer ‘appalled’ by Rand Paul's call to out whistleblower

Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., right, and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., depart from a press conference in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 5
Sondland reverses himself on Ukraine quid pro quo; investigators want to hear from Mulvaney

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives at the Capitol for his deposition on Oct. 17. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, revised his initial testimony significantly, amending it to say he told a top Ukrainian official that the country would “likely” not receive military aid unless it announced investigations into President Donald Trump’s political rivals, according to a transcript released Tuesday by the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry.

In an amendment to his transcribed testimony, Sondland said his recollections were “refreshed” after reviewing opening statements from diplomats William Taylor and Tim Morrison.

Trump to nominate Texas cancer hospital leader to head FDA
Stephen Hahn is currently the chief medical executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston

The Food and Drug Administration headquarters in White Oak, Md. President Donald Trump Friday nominated Stephen Hahn, a doctor and cancer treatment hospital executive to lead the agency. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Friday announced he intends to nominate Stephen Hahn, a doctor and executive at one of the country’s leading cancer treatment hospitals, to be the next Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

Hahn is currently the chief medical executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He is trained as a radiation oncologist, a field that uses radiation to kill cancer cells and tumors or slow their growth.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 29
Trump launches preemptive strike on NSC staffer’s deposition, impeachment ground rules resolution coming

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director of European affairs at the National Security Council, arrives at the Capitol for his deposition as part of the House's impeachment inquiry on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two senior Senate Democrats, in a letter Tuesday to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, asked for details about the Pentagon’s role in freezing military aid to Ukraine for several weeks earlier this year.

The aid, which had been appropriated in law, is at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry amid allegations that President Donald Trump ordered the money withheld as a way to coerce Ukraine to help discredit Trump’s political rivals.