Durbin Claims DACA Amnesty Is ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Time’

Illinois Democrat equated illegal immigrants' hardship with African-Americans' struggle for equality during 1950s, 1960s

Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants who were brought to America by their parents when they were children “is the civil rights issue of our time,” according to Sen. Dick Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who was a key architect of the weekend shutdown of the federal government.

“Let me thank my colleagues. So many of you cast a vote that was very hard and very difficult because you believed, as I did, that the issue of immigration, the issue of the dreamers, is the civil rights issue of our time,” Durbin said. “You stuck your necks out and said, ‘I’m willing to go on the record even if it’s going to be hard to explain back home,’ and I will never forget that.”

Durbin was speaking Monday on the Senate floor, as his party’s leaders surrendered after the “Schumer Shutdown” — and agreed to vote to reopen the federal government.

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Federal offices closed Friday at midnight after Senate Democrats and Republicans failed to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution to fund the government. Democrats forced the shutdown after Republicans refused to include amnesty in a temporary spending bill for an estimated 800,000 illegal immigrants who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

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The bill did not include funds for building a border wall, an end to chain migration, or a way to stop an immigration visa lottery program, as President Donald Trump had expected.

The civil rights movement to ensure equality for African-Americans took place in the 1950s and 1960s.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York — who led the Democrats’ shutdown campaign — and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed to negotiate further over the DACA amnesty issue after the government reopened.

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If Democrats and Republicans cannot reach an agreement before February 8, Schumer stipulated the Senate must have a vote on amnesty legislation immediately thereafter.

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage image: Sen. Dick Durbin speaks during the White House Summit, CC 0, by the U.S. Department of Labor; photo credit, article image: AMSF in DC, CC BY 2.0, by AMSF2011). Any parties involved in this imagery do not imply endorsement.)

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