Update: It's Friday morning and efforts by TheBlaze to extract an official response on this story from Senator Durbin are ongoing. As of 10:15 ET, there has been no official statement released from the senator's offices.
It has been two days since a rather unflattering story broke about Alaa Mukahhal, one of Senator Dick Durbin's "Dream Act" poster children. His website also refers to them as "American Dreamers" and highlights their stories online.
In those two days, the offensive Facebook pages of Alaa Mukahhal have been scrubbed and Senator Durbin has managed to duck or avoid TheBlaze's efforts to secure a comment on her offensive actions and words.
Before 10 a.m. on Thursday, TheBlaze tried contacting Sen. Durbin's office in Washington, D.C. In our first request to speak with the senator's press secretary, we were hung up on. Additional requests for a connection to the lawmaker's press secretary, Maria McElwain, via a cellphone or email address were not honored. No calls have been returned.
At 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, an intern in Durbin's Washington office told TheBlaze that the senator was "aware" of the controversy, but no statement had been released. The young man also assured us that the press secretary would likely have a response soon. We were instructed to "call back in an hour, and we should have something." An hour later we called and were once again transferred to a generic voicemail account for the "press department."
Since Durbin represents Illinois and has a large office in Chicago, we also reached out to that office. Shortly before 4 p.m. ET, we spoke with another intern who attempted to connect us with the Chicago press chief, someone named "John" (the Durbin staffers don't seem to like to share last names with Blaze editors). We were placed on a lengthy hold before being told, "I'm sorry, I thought John was here, he's not."
Again, we were told that the senator was "aware of the situation" but had not had time to respond to it. When asked why it has taken two days to respond to the story, there was no answer, just an offer to try another press person in the Chicago office - someone named "Christine." We asked for a direct email address to send our inquiry and once again we were sent to voicemail.
Our email messages to Mukahhal were not immediately returned .
What was so offensive that we persisted in our efforts to get a comment from Durbin?
On Thursday's Glenn Beck Radio Program, Beck introduced his audience to another side of Alaa Mukahhal. This side of the "American Dreamer" might not be as appealing as the one presented by Durbin 20 months earlier.
Beck quoted an online media report that Durbin's Dream Act poster child has been making some rather incendiary statements on social media outlets. Breitbart's Lee Stranahan claimed that she mocked Durbin's Senate presentation just a few days after it happened, reporting that on Feb. 3, 2012, she posted online: "Did ya'll notice the flag in the background of the pic? That was no coincidence #messaging #lol"
For the record, Mukahhal was referring to the flag in this super-sized photo used by Durbin during his Senate presentation.
There are additional reports of Alaa making anti-Israel statements on Facebook:
- September 12 she allegedly wrote, "F**k Israel. F**k Zionists and all the Zionist apologists. F**k them all."
- It has also been reported that in November 2012 she said, "I'm undocumented in America today because of the catastrophe (Nakba) in 1948."
Ms. Mukahhal must be a very special person to Durbin, because the Senator from Illinois also featured her in a presentation he made in the U.S. Senate on January 31, 2012.
Durbin stood on the Senate floor and delivered an emotional appeal for the Dream Act, using Mukahhal as a shining example of the kind of person who would benefit from immigration reform. Durbin introduced Mukahhal as a woman "of Palestinian descent," though her now-scrubbed Facebook page says that she was born in Kuwait, and read aloud an emotional letter from her.
"Being undocumented and with no pathway to citizenship means I actually can't use my architectural degree. It means I can't get a job and move forward my life. This year, once again we wait for Congress to do the right thing and give undocumented young people all across America a chance to better serve our communities and our country. I'm an asset to this country, a resource, with a desire to make good use of my degree. I want to work to be able to design affordable housing for low income communities," Durbin read.
Durbin closed his presentation with a salute to Mukahhal: "In the finest American tradition, Alaa has become an activist. She has stepped out to introduce herself to America. So we know who these Dream Act students are and what they could mean to the future of our nation." The photo below show Ms. Mukahhal "stepping out" and speaking at the Chicago protest gathering for "National Coming Out Of The Shadows Day" on March 10, 2012.