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In floor speech, Murray shares story of WA state woman able to pursue her nursing career because of initiative protecting DREAMers like her

**VIDEO here**

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray spoke on the Senate floor to commemorate the 3rd Anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Senator Murray also put a spotlight on the need to address the country’s broken immigration system. She highlighted the story of a young undocumented immigrant in Washington state, who because of her DACA status, has been able to put herself through college and pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. In Washington state alone, almost 15,000 young immigrants no longer live in constant fear of being deported due to their DACA status, and are able to work and further contribute to their communities.

 

Last November, Senator Murray spoke on the Senate floor in support of the President’s administrative action to improve the immigration system after the House of Representatives refused to act on bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate.

 

Excerpts from today’s remarks as prepared:

 

“Thanks to the increased certainty DACA brought, and the amazing work ethic she always had, Ilse was able to find jobs that helped her pay her way through school. Today, she is able to continue to pursue her dream of helping others as a nurse, and build a life in Washington state, her home. I am also happy to report that Ilse has been cancer free for over 14 years. So, while I rise to talk about Ilse, I also want to celebrate DACA.”

 

When DACA was enacted, the national dialogue on immigration policy forever changed. The Administration’s announcement showed that America is not a place that will deport someone who plays by the rules, but through no fault of their own is an undocumented immigrant. Someone who has known no other home than the United States. Someone who is American in all but name.”

 

“Too often in this debate – it’s difficult for some people to understand that the millions of undocumented families in our country are already an important part of our communities. Immigrants - documented or not - work hard, send their children to schools throughout this country, pay their taxes, and help weave the fabric of our society. In all but name, they are Americans. And America would not be the same without them.”

 

“Until Congress passes truly, comprehensive immigration reform, I will continue working each day to help the families and businesses – and people like Ilse - trapped by our broken system. We must never forget the past – and the fact our nation has long offered generations of immigrants the chance to achieve their dreams. And, Ilse is no different.”

 

Senator Murray’s remarks as prepared:

 

M. President, I rise to talk about a constituent of mine, Ilse - a twenty-three year old graduate of the University of Washington, who works at Seattle Children’s Hospital and is studying to become a nurse.

 

Ilse has faced many challenges in her twenty-three years, not least of which was being diagnosed with cancer as a teenager, going through treatment, and working to put herself through college.

 

And if the outstanding costs of cancer treatment weren’t difficult enough, the fact that Ilse was brought to the U.S. by her mother when she was six months old as an undocumented immigrant, made navigating the health care system even harder. Ilse persevered through her cancer treatment, worked her way through high school with an impressive list of extracurriculars, and went on to earn a scholarship that eventually got her to the front steps of her dream school – the University of Washington.

 

When I met Ilse back in 2013 she told me that after fifteen years of waiting for her petition to obtain a visa, she lost the opportunity to obtain legal residency when she turned twenty-one years old. But, thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, Ilse had a second chance. She said that she doesn’t know where she would be now without that second chance. Ilse told me that DACA opened doors that were previously closed to her. 

 

Thanks to the increased certainty DACA brought, and the amazing work ethic she always had, Ilse was able to find jobs that helped her pay her way through school. Today, she is able to continue to pursue her dream of helping others as a nurse, and build a life in Washington state, her home. I am also happy to report that Ilse has been cancer free for over 14 years. So, while I rise to talk about Ilse, I also want to celebrate DACA. 

 

Three years ago this week, Americans celebrated a historic step forward in protecting young undocumented immigrants, known as DREAMers. People just like Ilse.

 

When DACA was enacted, the national dialogue on immigration policy forever changed. The Administration’s announcement showed that America is not a place that will deport someone who plays by the rules, but through no fault of their own is an undocumented immigrant. Someone who has known no other home than the United States. Someone who is American in all but name.

 

This was a major step toward changing the lives of so many immigrant families. During the past three years, more than 600,000 young immigrants have benefitted from deferred action. And in my home state of Washington almost 15,000 DREAMers have been able to receive the stability, and peace of mind that DACA brings.

 

Too often in this debate – it’s difficult for some people to understand that the millions of undocumented families in our country are already an important part of our communities. Immigrants - documented or not - work hard, send their children to schools throughout this country, pay their taxes, and help weave the fabric of our society. In all but name, they are Americans. And America would not be the same without them.

 

Despite the steps this Administration has taken, only legislation from Congress can solve the underlying problem of a broken immigration system. And I stand ready to work with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to achieve this.

 

Until Congress passes truly, comprehensive immigration reform, I will continue working each day to help the families and businesses – and people like Ilse - trapped by our broken system.

 

We must never forget the past – and the fact our nation has long offered generations of immigrants the chance to achieve their dreams. And, Ilse is no different.