News Releases

In speech on Senate floor, Senator Murray implores Republican colleagues to follow through on promise to fix DACA, uphold commitment to find permanent solution for DACA recipients & Dreamers

Senator Murray: “…Congress may not be able to change the Trump Administration’s hateful rhetoric or short-sighted policies overnight, but we can and should pass the DREAM Act as soon as possible…”

In earlier year-end news conference with Senate Democratic leaders, Senator Murray also blasts Republicans for leaving unfinished business on critical issues like DREAM Act, CHIP and CHCs that will impact hundreds of thousands in Washington state, nationwide – LINK

ICYMI: Sens. Murray, Cantwell, Democratic Women Senators to McConnell: Pass the DREAM Act Before Senate Recesses in December

Spokesman-Review Editorial: Foot-dragging on DACA is cruel

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) strongly urged her Republican colleagues to finally pass the DREAM Act and uphold Congress’ promise to find a permanent solution for hundreds of thousands of young people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. President Trump and Attorney General Sessions rescinded the program last September, impacting an estimated 800,000 young men and women, including nearly 17,000 in Washington state. In her speech, Senator Murray shared stories from young Washingtonians enrolled in DACA, underscoring the fear and confusion President Trump’s reckless decision has posed on their lives, families, and futures, and stressed the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act to alleviate their uncertainty. Senator Murray also highlighted the moral and economic costs of not honoring the commitment made to young people who signed up for DACA, and underlined the immeasurable value recipients of DACA contribute to their communities in Washington state and nationwide.

Excerpts from Senator Murray’s floor speech:

From health care to tax reform, there’s no doubt that some days it feels impossible to get the majority of Republicans on-board with policies that truly help the families we represent. But there is one thing that unites not only a large, bipartisan contingent in Congress, but also the vast majority of the American people. And that is finding a path forward for the estimated 800,000 young men and women whose lives are right now in limbo. Eight hundred thousand people—including nearly 17,000 men and women, boys and girls, from my home state of Washington who shared their information, paid a large fee, and upheld their end of the bargain, only to have President Trump rip the rug out from under them three months ago when he and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the DACA program.

This Congress may not be able to change the Trump Administration’s hateful rhetoric or short-sighted policies overnight, but we can and should pass the DREAM Act as soon as possible. And that’s why we need more members of Congress—on both sides of the aisle—ready to roll up their sleeves and get this done. Because every single day Republican leaders refuse to bring the DREAM Act to the floor to a vote, another 122 young people lose their DACA status, lose their ability to work legally, and lose their protection from deportation. That means 122 of our neighbors, students, coworkers and friends could be forced from the only country they know, despite the promise the federal government made to them when they signed up for DACA, and despite their immeasurable contributions to our schools and hospitals, our universities and stores, our farms and churches, our offices and so much more.

Stop letting so many promising young men and women fall off the rolls of this program each and every day. Stop kicking this can down the road, and come together to do what’s right for these young people. Ending the DACA program is not what our country is all about. It doesn’t do anything to fix our broken immigration system, prepare for the future or grow our economy. Ending DACA won’t heal the divisions we’ve seen in our communities, or make them any easier to fix.  And ending the DACA program certainly doesn’t reflect a country of opportunity or promise—something the U.S. has always aspired to be.

I urge my colleagues here in the Senate and over in the House: think about the communities you represent.  Think about the young men and women who are currently studying for finals, caring for our sick, teaching our children, responding to natural disasters and opening businesses in the communities that you travel to and live in. Think about the young men and women who hope to serve in the military and defend your freedoms someday. Think of the Dreamers who have grown up in our country—and whose children are the future of our nation. Think about how much good we could do for these young men and women if my Republican friends brought the same commitment and zeal to this task as they did to their tax bill, and finally worked with Democrats to find a real solution to end this unnecessary uncertainty.

I want to thank Paul—as well the other advocates from Washington state who I met this morning in my office—and the many thousands of others who are showing up in every way that they can to make their voice heard and call on Congress to act. Dr. Martin Luther King once said that justice too long delayed is justice denied. And Dreamers aren’t asking for anything other than what we’ve promised to them. This is an incredibly difficult and uncertain time for so many. But Dreamers need to know, many of us in Congress—and so many others across the country—have your back. We will get this done. We have to get this done.

Watch video of Senator Murray’s floor speech HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech below:

M. President, over the years there have been a lot of tough debates on this floor.

From health care to tax reform, there’s no doubt that some days it feels impossible to get the majority of Republicans on-board with policies that truly help the families we represent.

But there is one thing that unites not only a large, bipartisan contingent in Congress, but also the vast majority of the American people

… and that is finding a path forward for the estimated 800,000 young men and women whose lives are right now in limbo.

Eight hundred thousand people—including nearly 17,000 men and women, boys and girls, from my home state of Washington who shared their information, paid a large fee, and upheld their end of the bargain…

…only to have President Trump rip the rug out from under them three months ago when he and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the DACA program.

M. President, this Congress may not be able to change the Trump Administration’s hateful rhetoric or short-sighted policies overnight, but we can and should pass the DREAM Act as soon as possible…

…and that’s why we need more members of Congress—on both sides of the aisle—ready to roll up their sleeves and get this done.

Because every single day Republican leaders refuse to bring the DREAM Act to the floor to a vote, another 122 young people lose their DACA status, lose their ability to work legally, and lose their protection from deportation.

That means 122 of our neighbors, students, coworkers and friends could be forced from the only country they know, despite the promise the federal government made to them when they signed up for DACA…

…and despite their immeasurable contributions to our schools and hospitals, our universities and stores, our farms and churches, our offices and so much more.

That means small and large businesses are forced to lay-off DACA recipients each day—vital employees that businesses have invested money to train and support, employees that help our economy and the small business in my home state grow. 

My friends on the other side of the aisle are constantly claiming they want to help small businesses grow.

I listened to weeks of their speeches on this as they tried to justify their tax bill, but instead of a giveaway to the wealthiest one-percent, one way my friends across the aisle could actually help small businesses is to bring the DREAM Act up for a vote.

Now, this morning I had the great honor of sitting down with Dreamers who traveled to our nation’s capital to fight for action.

Young people who had no control over how they came to this country, but have made conscious choices to improve their own lives and make life better for their communities.

They are passionate—they are frustrated—and their stories need to be heard.

Here’s just one of them.

Paul was brought to the U.S. at age seven to be reunited with his father.

Paul excelled in school in Pasco, Washington – not far from where my own father grew up.

Paul and his parents worried that despite Paul’s success in K-12, going to college and starting a career might be impossible, but DACA provided some stability.

Paul went to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, as a double major in political science and economics and now works in the state legislature.

Now, with DACA in question, it’s not just Paul who isn’t sure what comes next but also his younger brother, Jose.

Jose—who was two years old when he came to the U.S.—grew up seeing what Paul was able to achieve his dreams.

He saw that DACA allowed Paul to live without constant fear.

Jose was ready to follow Paul’s footsteps and enroll in the DACA program, so he could pursue his dream of an engineering degree at the University of Washington.

Now if Congress doesn’t act, we could have one less engineer in this country.

M. President, Paul and Jose are great examples of Dreamers who work hard and aim high, and participate in their community and our economy—making our country a better place.

This country should be rolling out the welcome mat to our Dreamers, not slamming the door shut on them.

And that’s why I am here, to echo their fear and frustration on the floor of the United States Senate…

…and to call on Republican leaders to work with us.

Stop letting so many promising young men and women fall off the rolls of this program each and every day.

Stop kicking this can down the road, and come together to do what’s right for these young people.

Ending the DACA program is not what our country is all about.

It doesn’t do anything to fix our broken immigration system, prepare for the future or grow our economy.

Ending DACA won’t heal the divisions we’ve seen in our communities, or make them any easier to fix.  

And ending the DACA program certainly doesn’t reflect a country of opportunity or promise—something the U.S. has always aspired to be.

I urge my colleagues here in the Senate and over in the House: think about the communities you represent.

Think about the young men and women who are currently studying for finals, caring for our sick,  teaching our children, responding to natural disasters and opening businesses in the communities that you travel to and live in.

Think about the young men and women who hope to serve in the military and defend your freedoms someday.

Think of the Dreamers who have grown up in our country—and whose children are the future of our nation.

Think about how much good we could do for these young men and women if my Republican friends brought the same commitment and zeal to this task as they did to their tax bill, and finally worked with Democrats to find a real solution to end this unnecessary uncertainty.

M. President, I want to thank Paul—as well the other advocates from Washington state who I met this morning in my office—and the many thousands of others who are showing up in every way that they can to make their voice heard and call on Congress to act.

Dr. Martin Luther King once said that justice too long delayed is justice denied.

…and Dreamers aren’t asking for anything other than what we’ve promised to them.

This is an incredibly difficult and uncertain time for so many.

But Dreamers need to know, many of us in Congress—and so many others across the country—have your back.

We will get this done.

We have to get this done.

Thank you, I yield the floor.