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DREAM Act Immigration Bill Delayed in the Senate

3 years ago
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The Senate voted 59 to 40 Thursday to delay consideration of the DREAM Act, a bill that would give young illegal immigrants a path to citizenship if they complete two years of college or two years in the U.S. military. To qualify, they also must have arrived in the country before the age of 16 and have lived in the United States longer than five years.

Following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he hoped to bring a modified version of the bill back to the Senate for consideration next week. "We remain in our usual state in the Senate -- a state of flux," Reid said.

The House passed its version Wednesday. But In the days before Senate Democrats voted to delay their bill, ominous signs indicated that it would likely fail to get the 60 votes necessary to procedurally move on to a debate and vote on final passage.

As Reid prepared to bring the bill to the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted what he called a "show vote" and criticized the Democrats for bringing it up during the lame-duck session. Last week, McConnell and his caucus promised to block consideration of any legislation, including the DREAM Act, until the Senate resolved questions over the expiring Bush tax cuts and funding of the federal government for the next year.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)"It is perfectly clear by now that our friends on the other side of the aisle are more interested in pleasing special interest groups than in addressing our nation's jobs crisis," McConnell said. "Once again, they're insisting that the Senate spend its last remaining days before the end of the session voting on a liberal grab bag of proposals that are designed to fail."

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the sponsor of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), described it as a compassionate solution for children of illegal immigrants who never made the choice on their own to come to the United States.

"These children have been raised in America, they grew up in this country," Durbin said. "They are the valedictorians in their classes, the presidents, the stars of their sports teams and the people who win the college bowls. And they are undocumented, and they have no country, and they have no place to go... Give these young people a chance."

But Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee that oversees immigration policy, opposed the bill and called it unrestricted amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.

"Ending the lawlessness at our borders is the first thing that must be done and at some point after that we can wrestle with what to do about people who are here illegally," Sessions said. "Otherwise, we are surrendering to lawlessness."

Sessions also painted a different picture of the immigrant community than Durbin, warning that the DREAM Act would allow repeat criminal offenders and gang members to apply for the program and pointing out that the law would not be restricted to children, but only to people who were brought to the United States as children. He also warned that applicants could easily obtain fake college diplomas to qualify for citizenship.

But Durbin dismissed Sessions' predictions about phony diplomas and said the bill he drafted would disqualify felons and people convicted of voter fraud, marriage fraud or visa fraud.

Durbin first introduced the DREAM Act 10 years ago. As Reid campaigned for re-election in Nevada, he promised immigration activists that he would bring it to the floor for a vote this year.

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ConnieJ

This bill is the absolutely WRONG WAY to grant citizenship to illegal aliens. There does need to be a way for the children who have been here for an extended period of time to become citizens, but this is not the solution. Our first priority is to secure the borders and STOP the flow of ILLEGALS into this country. Until that is done there is no advantage to granting citizenship to those who have lived off the largess of the hardworking American taxpayer. Granting citizenship should NOT be a blanket order. It's long past the time for the politicians to begin doing the jobs for which they were elected -- secure the borders, protect our sovereignty, maintain the infrastructure, balance the budget, and ELIMINATE the corruption that is so rife in DC.

December 18 2010 at 9:58 PM
rdr4iv@aol.com

No way Jose! Thank god it did not passed.

December 18 2010 at 8:16 PM +1
rdr4iv@aol.com

Thank God it did not passed. I'm totally against this bill. Mexican kids and central american kids should give it up. It's time that this bill is dead.NO MORE DREAM ACT!

December 18 2010 at 8:13 PM +1
muted3

It is a disgrace that the Dream Act has not been passed. Punishing children who had no independent action in coming to the US. Punish the parents, not the kids.

December 15 2010 at 10:07 PM -2
jane48doe

The ONLY reason they want this passed ASAP is because after this lame duck Reb will take the house. All the “dreamers” will vote Obama 2012 if it passes before the end of the year in addition to all the American morons who think Obama is “cleaning up Bush’s mess”. Once they are amnestied the democrats will be in power forever. Well, at least until China conquerors us anyhow. Whatever happened to the AMERICAN dream? Work hard, get ahead? IMPEACH OBAMA, PELSOSI and REID NOW!

December 14 2010 at 9:05 AM +4
skinnycat

Does anyone in Congress remember when they marched in our streets waving "their" flag of Mexico?

December 13 2010 at 9:11 PM +6
bill

Why can't the federal govt keep a promise, or at least title a bill honestly. The dream act is amesty and will cause our boarders to be flooded once again. Give the illegals anything and they flood us. Do not give them anything and they will self deport. We may need workers but illegal workers are not the answer. The feds will screw up a wet dream - Voter imposed term limits will help - 2 terms and out.

December 13 2010 at 4:40 PM +3
wesxauto

Until the border is secure the American people will not go for any more giveaway bills.

December 13 2010 at 1:23 PM +6
methnkng

The American taxpayer has already given these "Kids" (up to the age of 30!) a grade and high school education, free lunches, and medical care. That is a lot of charity. Now these gimmie, gimmie, gimmie more kids want the American taxpayer to subsidize their education, and give them preferential immigration treatment, and allow them to sponsor in their lawbreaking parents! There is a reason almost all Americans are against it. No one in America is above the law. No one.

December 13 2010 at 12:57 AM +6
tanyaschlager

The young people the Dream Act is designed to help did not knowingly commit a crime. They were children when their families came here. They are seeking only what all children want as they grow up: to gain an education and career, build stable adult lives and give back to the communities they call home. The law is no easy out for them, since it would impose up to a 10-year period of provisional residency, during which they would be denied many federal benefits available to citizens. The proposed law wouldn't allow them to cut the line. It would allow them to join it — at the back. Pass the Dream Act. CONSIDER Juan Orjuela, age 19. He grew up in Paterson, Haledon and Lodi, and graduated in the top 15 percent of his class at Lodi High School. He's now an honors student at Bergen Community College. And he doesn't know what comes next, because he is an undocumented immigrant. His parents brought him here from Colombia when he was 3 years old. Without citizenship, he couldn't claim the full state scholarship he earned to attend BCC, likely can't afford a four-year degree and is at a loss as to how to succeed in this country without one, Staff Writer Patricia Alex reported. Some 500,000 people living in the United States today will find themselves in a similar situation, because they were brought here without documentation as children. As they grow up, they are often unable to continue their studies and are stuck in dead-end, low-paying jobs. What a waste. Luckily, Congress holds the solution, in the form of the Dream Act, which would provide a path to legal citizenship for anyone brought here under the age of 16 who has lived in the United States for at least five years and attends college or joins the military. It is a reasonable and humane measure that has passed the House of Representatives, but was tabled by the Senate on Thursday. Critics of the Dream Act often respond to stories like Orjuela's by offering other tales of immigrant woe: the families who wait years and follow the nation's tangle of immigration laws before settling here legally. It's not fair, they say, to allow anyone to cut the line. To be sure, immigration policy in the United States is in dire need of an overhaul. The path to legal citizenship is strewn with out-of-date quotas and administrative barriers — among the reasons why so many immigrants are undocumented. And the notion of allowing scofflaws a path to legitimacy while denying that for the straight-and-narrow is abhorrent. But we're not talking about scofflaws. And two wrongs don't make a right. The young people the Dream Act is designed to help did not knowingly commit a crime. They were children when their families came here. They are seeking only what all children want as they grow up: to gain an education and career, build stable adult lives and give back to the communities they call home. The law is no easy out for them, since it would impose up to a 10-year period of provisional residency, during which they would be denied many federal benefits available to citizens. The proposed law wouldn't allow them to cut the line. It would allow them to join it — at the back. Pass the Dream Act.

December 12 2010 at 4:03 PM -11

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