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Sen. Durbin Says Supreme Court's Ruling Is Not The End Of The Road For 'Dreamers'

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Just after 10 this morning, the Supreme Court threw a lifeline to people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. In a 5-4 decision, the court blocked the Trump administration's move to end the program known as DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts called the administration's attempt to end the program, quote, "arbitrary and capricious."

KELLY: Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is one of the architects of the DREAM Act, a bill introduced nearly two decades ago that included a pathway to citizenship for so-called DREAMers. It never passed.

CHANG: On the Senate floor today, Durbin welcomed the court's ruling. But he said for DACA recipients, this is not the end of the road.

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RICHARD DURBIN: Thanks to the Supreme Court, they have some more time. And now it's up to the president and up to us to solve this problem once and for all - to do the right thing for them and for the future of America.

KELLY: Senator Durbin told NPR's Morning Edition he hopes the administration will not make a new attempt to dismantle DACA. He is calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take up legislation that would write a permanent fix into law. But bipartisan legislation fell apart in the Senate in 2018.

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DURBIN: Remember - the Republicans are in majority in the Senate as I'm reminded every day when I go to work. And of course, the president's in the White House. He would have to give a signal that he's given before that if we can come up with a bipartisan solution by legislation, he'll support it. He's disappointed me in the past when he made that promise and didn't keep it. But I hope that he would do it this time. And I think many Republicans want to see this issue resolved in the right way. They understand this is a special category of people.

CHANG: That said, Durbin did not sugarcoat the prospects of passing a bill in the Senate right now.

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DURBIN: It could happen. But let me be honest with you - an election which brings more people that feel as I do on the issue would make it a lot easier. Right now it'd be a death-defying act in the Senate, but we ought to try. For the sake of these 700,000 young people and their families, we owe it to them to give it a try.

KELLY: Senator Dick Durbin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.