The Senate voted Thursday to table a measure that in part would give children of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship if they seek an education or join the military. Reid said he will take up the proposal “later this month,” giving it one final chance to make it to the president’s desk.
The House passed its own version of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors or “DREAM” Act 216-198 Wednesday night, which had the support of eight Republican votes, five of which came from members who will not be members of the next Congress. The Senate will take up that version of the bill.
Opponents say the proposal would give immigrants an incentive to skirt immigration laws and does not include enough safeguards to avoid abuse. Supporters argue that the measure gives children who were brought to the United States a chance to make the best of a situation that was no fault of their own. The Congressional Budget Office, which measures the cost of every bill, determined this week that the DREAM Act would not increase the federal deficit and ultimately be a net-positive for the economy.
In a press conference Wednesday, Democratic Whip Sen. Dick Durbin conceded that passage would be “an uphill struggle” and said he doubts the bill will get another chance if it fails before the Congress adjourns.
Next week’s Senate vote is likely to be the last chance the DREAM Act will have for at least two years. Republicans will control the House and hold a more substantial minority in the Senate next year, making it highly unlikely the bill will see any daylight during that time.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised immigration reform advocates in September that he would put the measure up for a vote before the end of the lame duck session “win or lose.”
This article has been updated.