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Sen. Dick Durbin Speaks on Immigration Reform at Georgetown

October 29, 2013 – Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), assistant majority leader, delivered a talk on immigration reform Tuesday evening as part of a series celebrating the 15th anniversary of Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM).

“U.S. Immigration Reform 360” was the second part of a series of talks – presented with support from the MacArthur Foundation and Georgetown's Office of the President – that allows congressional leaders, agency experts, the research community and the general public to have informed discussions about immigration reform.

The talk took place in the university's historic Gaston Hall. Durbin graduated from the School of Foreign Service in 1966 and received a law degree from Georgetown in 1969.

“ISIM has a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to look at issues related to immigration reform, especially the implementation challenges,” says Susan Martin, ISIM executive director and the Donald G. Herzberg Chair in International Migration. “The line of argument we’re following is that if immigration reform passes, then the success or failure of it is how it’s implemented. If it fails, the problems don’t go away, so [we're] looking at what might be done to improve the immigration system, whether or not there’s legislation.”

The senator from Illinois has been a chief proponent of the DREAM Act, introduced with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), to provide a path to citizenship for college students and those in the military who came to the United States without documentation when they were very young.

“Durbin has been a major player on issues relating to immigration for many years,” says Scott Fleming, associate vice president for federal relations at Georgetown. “He was instrumental in moving comprehensive immigration reform through the Senate earlier this year. This will be an amazing opportunity for students here at Georgetown to hear firsthand from one of the leading voices on immigration policy in the U.S. Congress.”

The ISIM series began earlier this fall with “Implementing Immigration Reform: Imagining the Possibilities,” a symposium featuring Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) that was co-hosted with Deloitte.