MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE ONCE AGAIN TODAY TO EXPRESS MY STRONG SUPPORT FOR TAKING ACTION ON THE DREAM ACT. I WANT TO THANK ALL THE DREAMERS WHO IN RECENT WEEKS TRAVELED FROM ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO WASHINGTON TO MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD. LAST MONTH I MET WITH 50 MINNESOTANS WHO TRAVELED HERE BY BUS TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE DREAM ACT. THEY TOOK TIME AWAY FROM THEIR JOBS, FROM THEIR EDUCATION, FROM THEIR FAMILIES BECAUSE THIS ISSUE IS SO CRITICAL TO THEM AND TO THEIR LOVED ONES. I WANT TO GET THIS BILL PASSED, AND WHILE I REMAIN HOPEFUL THAT WE WILL REACH AN AGREEMENT SOON, I KNOW THAT THIS HAS REAL CONSEQUENCES WITH EACH DAY AND EVERY DAY AS OVER 100 DREAMERS LOSE THEIR STATUS PER DAY.

WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF THE ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION TO END DACA AND THE SITUATION WILL CONTINUE TO GET WORSE UNTIL WE TAKE ACTION. FOR THE ELIGIBLE DACA RERECIPIENTS, THE UNCERTAINTY IS UNBELIEVABLY DIFFICULT. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO WERE TOLD PREVIOUSLY BY OUR GOVERNMENT THAT THEY COULD STAY. THEY REGISTERED -- THEY REGISTERED WITH OUR GOVERNMENT. AND NOW WITH EACH AND EVERY DAY MORE AND MORE ARE LOSING THEIR STATUS. SINCE I SPOKE ABOUT THIS ISSUE ON THE SENATE FLOOR LAST WEEK, AND ESTIMATED 800 ADDITIONAL DREAMERS HAVE LOST THEIR DACA STATUS. IN MARCH, THE NUMBER OF DREAMERS WITH EXPIRING PROTECTIONS WILL INCREASE TO 1,000 A DAY IF WE HAVE NOT FOUND A SOLUTION BY THAT TIME.

THIS IS AN ISSUE WHERE WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIND BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS. AMERICANS WANT US TO PROTECT DREAMERS. IN FACT, ONE RECENT POLL FOUND THAT 86% OF AMERICANS SUPPORT ACTION TO ALLOW DREAMERS TO STAY HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. THE DREAM ACT, WHICH MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR DURBIN, HAS LED IN THE SENATE FOR 16 YEARS NOW, IS BASED ON A SIMPLE PRINCIPLE. ARE DREAMERS WHO ARE -- DREAMERS WHO ARE BROUGHT TO THE UNITED STATES AS CHILDREN AND ONLY KNOW THIS COUNTRY AS THEIR HOME SHOULD BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR NATION AND BECOME CITIZENS. THEY WERE BROUGHT HERE THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. ON AVERAGE, WHEN THEY CAME HERE THEY WERE ONLY 6 AND A HALF YEAR OLD. IMAGINE BEING TOLD YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO A COUNTRY THAT YOU MAY NOT -- YOU HAVE NOT STEPPED FOOT IN SINCE YOU WERE 6. TO RECEIVE DACA STATUS, ALL DREAMERS HAVE PAID FEES AND HAD A BACKGROUND CHECK AND HAVE EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS SO THEY CAN STAY HERE IN THE UNITED STATES AND CONTRIBUTE TO OUR COMMUNITIES AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

DREAMERS ARE ALREADY CONTRIBUTING. MORE THAN 90% OF THESE DREAMERS OF THE DACA RECIPIENTS ARE NOW IN SCHOOL ARE IN THE WORKFORCE. IN FACT, 72% OF THEM CURRENTLY IN SCHOOL ARE PURSUING A BACHELOR'S DEGREE OR HIGHER. THE AMERICAN MEDICAL SHAITION URGED US -- ASSOCIATION HAS URGED US TO BEING -- TO TAKE ACTION. NOTING THE SHORTAGE OF PHYSICIANS, THERE IS AN ESTIMATE THAT PASSING THE DREAM ACT COULD ADD 5,400 PHYSICIANS. ACCORDING TO THE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF MEDICAL COLLEGES, MORE THAN 100 STUDENTS WITH DACA STATUS APPLIED TO MEDICAL SCHOOL AND 70 DREAMERS ARE CURRENTLY ENROLLED IN MEDICAL SCHOOL. IN MINNESOTA, OUR LARGE REFUGEE AND IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY HAS CONTRIBUTED SO MUCH TO THE CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC VITALITY OF OUR STATE. WE ARE PROUD TO HAVE THE SECOND LARGER MUNG POPULATION. WE HAVE THE BIGGEST POPULATION OF SMOLIES, BIGGEST POPULATION OF SIGH BIRRIAN -- SYBERIANS. ENDING DACA IN MY STATE WHERE THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS HOVERING IN THE 3% RANGE, ENDING DACA WOULD COST MINNESOTA MORE THAN $376 IN ANIMAL REVENUE. LAST WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR, I TALKED ABOUT HOW I'VE ALWAYS TRIED TO FIND EXAMPLES OF DREAMERS SO THAT THE CITIZENS IN MY STATE CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT SOMEONE COULD BE BROUGHT OVER TO OUR COUNTRY AND NOT EVEN REALIZE IT AND HAVE THIS DREAMER STATUS. I TALKED ABOUT JOSEPH MEDINA. HE WAS A DECORATED ARMY VETERAN. HE SERVED IN WORLD WAR II. HE WAS IN MINNESOTA. AND I'M SAD TO SAY HE PASSED AWAY LAST JULY AT THE RIPE OLD AGE OF 103 YEARS OLD. THERE WAS A STORY ABOUT JOE IN TODAY'S EDITION OF OUR LARGEST NEWSPAPER IN MINNESOTA HONORING HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR NATION DURING WORLD WAR II AND THROUGH HIS NEARLY A CENTURY AS A PROUD AND HARDWORKING MINNESOTAN. SO JOE LOST BOTH OF HIS PARENTS BEFORE HE WAS ONE YEAR OLD. HE WAS BROUGHT TO THE U.S. FROM MEXICO BY HIS AUNT WHEN HE WAS JUST FIVE, AND HE DIDN'T FIND OUT THAT HE WAS UNDOCUMENTED HIS WHOLE TIME GROWING UP. WHEN DID HE FIND OUT? WHEN HE TRIED TO JOIN THE ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. SO WHAT HE DID THEN, BECAUSE HE WASN'T A CITIZEN -- AND BACK THEN IT WAS PRETTY SIMPLE. WHAT THEY WOULD DO IS THEY WOULD HAVE PEOPLE GO TO CANADA, ESPECIALLY IF THEY LIVED IN MINNESOTA, AND THAT IS HOW THEY WOULD BECOME CITIZENS. SO THEY SENT JOE MEDINA TO CANADA FOR ONE DAY. I REMEMBER HIM TELLING ME THIS STORY THAT THAT'S WHAT THEY DID DURING WORLD WAR II WHEN THEY WANTED PEOPLE TO SIGN UP AND SERVE. AND HE STAYED IN A HOTEL FOR ONE NIGHT, AND HE CAME BACK, AND WITH THE HELP OF OUR MILITARY, HE BECAME A CITIZEN. HE THEN SERVED UNDER GENERAL MACARTHUR IN THE PACIFIC. HE THEN CAME HOME, GOT MARRIED, AND HAD A SON. AND THAT SON SERVED IN THE VIETNAM WAR. JOE CAME TO WASHINGTON, D.C. WITH HIS SON FOR THE FIRST AND LAST TIME TO SEE THE WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL AT AGE 99. AND I GOT TO STAND THERE BY HIS SIDE AS HE LOOKED AT THE MINNESOTA PART OF THAT MEMORIAL AND THOUGHT OF THE PEOPLE HE KNEW THAT WERE NO LONGER WITH US AND THOUGHT OF HIS SERVICE AND HOW MUCH HE LOVED SERVING OUR COUNTRY IN WORLD WAR II. BUT AT HIS SIDE, ALONG WITH HIS OWN SON WHO HAD SERVED IN VIETNAM, WERE WITH TWO DREAMERS, TWO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL IN THE SUBURBAN PART OF THE TWIN CITIES, AND THEY ALSO WANTED TO JOIN THE MILITARY. IF I REMEMBER RIGHT, THEY WANTED TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE. YOU KNOW WHAT? WITH THE RULES THE WAY THEY WERE A FEW YEARS AGO, THEY WEREN'T ALLOWED TO DO THAT. AND JOSEPH MEDINA COULDN'T UNDERSTAND THAT BECAUSE THE PROUDEST PART OF HIS LIFE WAS SERVING IN OUR MILITARY, SERVING DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE WAS BORN IN ANOTHER COUNTRY BUT LIVED ALMOST HIS ENTIRE LIFE, 98 YEARS OF HIS 103 YEARS WERE SPENT IN AMERICA.

SO I JOIN WITH ALL THOSE IN MY STATE IN REMEMBERING JOSEPH MEDINA AND HONORING HIS SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY AS WE CONTINUE TO WORK TOWARD FINDING A SOLUTION FOR THE DREAMERS IN THE SENATE. I KNOW THAT WE SHOULD ALSO TAKE ACTION HERE AT THE END OF THE YEAR, AND WE SHOULD BE STAYING TO GET A NUMBER OF PRIORITIES DONE, INCLUDING A LONG-TERM REAUTHORIZATION OF THE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM, DEALING WITH THE MEDICAL DEVICE TAX, RENEWING FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS. THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO. BUT IN CLOSING, MR. CHAIRMAN, I JUST WANT TO MAKE CLEAR, I STAND WITH MY COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE WHO HAVE SPOKEN OUT IN SUPPORT OF THE DREAM ACT. WE NEED TO PASS THIS BILL. THANK YOU, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.