DREAM Act fails in the Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans on Saturday doomed an effort that would have given hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status if they enrolled in college or joined the military.

Sponsors of the Dream Act fell five votes short of the 60 they needed to break through largely GOP opposition and win its enactment before Republicans take over the House and narrow Democrats’ majority in the Senate next month.

President Barack Obama called the vote “incredibly disappointing.”

“A minority of senators prevented the Senate from doing what most Americans understand is best for the country,” Obama said. “There was simply no reason not to pass this important legislation.”

Dozens of immigrants wearing graduation mortarboards watched from the Senate’s visitors gallery, disappointment on their faces, as the 55-41 vote was announced.

“This is a dark day in America,” said Jorje-Mario Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles. “The Senate has … thrown under the bus the lives and hard work of thousands and thousands of students who love this country like their own home, and, in fact, they have no other home.”

Hispanic activists and immigrant advocates had looked to the bill as a down payment on what they had hoped would be broader action by Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress to give the nation’s 10 million to 12 million illegal immigrants a chance at legal status.

It targeted the most sympathetic of the millions of illegal immigrants — those brought to the United States as children, who in many cases consider themselves American, speak English and have no ties to or family living in their native countries.

“They stand in the classrooms and pledge allegiance to our flag,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the bill’s chief sponsor. “This is the only country they have ever known. All they’re asking for is a chance to serve this nation.”

Critics called the bill a backdoor grant of amnesty that would encourage more foreigners to sneak into the United States in hopes of being legalized eventually.

“Treating the symptoms of the problem might make us feel better … but it can allow the underlying problem to metastasize,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. “Unfortunately, that’s what’s happening at our border.”

The legislation would have provided a route to legal status for an estimated 1 million to 2 million illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before age 16, have been here for five years, graduated from high school or gained an equivalency degree and who joined the military or attend college.

Democrats’ determination to vote on the bill before year’s end reflected the party’s efforts to satisfy Hispanic groups whose backing has been critical in recent elections and will be again in 2012. They said they’ll try again in the next Congress, despite the increased GOP presence.

“The echo of this vote will be loud and long,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., a key House sponsor of the bill. “We are at the tipping point that will define the political alignment of the Republican and Democratic parties with Latino voters for a generation.”

“This country has a history of opening its arms,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. “Today, it’s arms were closed, but we’re going to get there.”

Three Republicans — Robert Bennett of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Richard Lugar of Indiana — joined 50 Democrats and the Senate’s two independents in voting for the bill.

Five Democrats — Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — joined 36 Republicans in blocking it. Not voting were Republican Sens. Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

  • southernandproud

    Cry me a river. Learn the definition of illegal.

  • Sonny119

    PLEASE… take your tears and cry in your own country, ie; Mexico, where you belong in the first place.!!!
    No one said that you cannot come to America LEGALLY, but when you, or your family, parents, or whomever, decided to break the US Federal Immigration Law, and came into America ILLEGALLY, instead of Legally, like every other person, in every other country. from around the world has to do, then that’s your problem.!! That’s what’s NOT Fair to the rest of the people around the world, who have to stand in line, and wait patiently, and follow the Law, while you Mexicans, just break the law, come here illegally, and cry and whine and compalin that you have no rights.. F.U.!!!
    The one thing that makes every single decent honest Conservative Patriotic American mad, is that the Taxes that we, the American People have to pay, goes to you for FREE Housing, Education, Health Care, Jobs, etc.. BUT we have to pay for ours.. and on top of that, you claim to pay Taxes, but you don’t even have a Legal authentic certified Social Security Number, and SS Cards, because they are Forged, just like that Calif. Gov. Candidate, Meg Whitman’s Maid, so how can you pay Taxes and get a job.. That’s right, technically, legally, NO, you can’t, but since you lie and forge everything, with your illegal and or stolen documents and information, you cry and complain and protest, that your rights are being violated.. Please, Hello… anyone home.. You have NO RIGHTS, other than Human Rights, as you are here ILLEGALLY !!!!, and as in you have broken United States Laws, and are Criminals, and should therefore be deported or Jailed.
    What part of that don’t you understand, or did they not teach you that, while attending an American School for Free, with American Tax Payer Dollars..
    There is nothing I can’t sand more, than a criminal illegal alien, demanding rights, that are absolutely NOT entitled to in the first place, let alone, should be in Jail or deported.!!!
    Have you tried coming to America, the LEGAL way.. it actually does work you know… as in, there is a Legal Immigration system..
    GO BACK to MEXICO..!!!!

  • jjsmithers

    “Dozens of immigrants wearing graduation mortarboards watched from the Senate’s visitors gallery, disappointment on their faces, as the 55-41 vote was announced.”

    Who dressed them up in those costumes and bussed them in ?

    This was an amnesty bill, and it would have given amnesty to EVERYBODY 30 years old and under.

    By filling out the application, it gives them amnesty while app is being processed or appealed. It doesn’t matter if someone is eligible– filling out the app would get them the amnesty. And every slimeball immigration lawyer would have them fill out the app to get that immunity.

    This is disgusting, how this country is being destroyed from within.

    And boo-hoo, the Hispanics will be mad at the Republicans (again), so sayeth the liberals– as if they are worried about Republicans. If Hispanics are mad– so what ? It is time to stop bowing down to every interest group.