Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Statement on Dream Act Vote by the National Immigration Law Center

Forwarded by the National Immigration Law Center----

We are not giving up. Too much is at stake.

This afternoon, a bipartisan 52-44 majority of the Senate voted in favor of permitting debate on the DREAM Act, S. 2205, legislation that would provide a path to legal status for young people who were brought to the U.S. years ago as children. Unfortunately, 60 votes were needed, so the DREAM Act could not proceed.

We are saddened and enraged that 60 votes could not be mustered for this bill, which would transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of deserving young people. But like those young people, the DREAM Act is not going away.

The vote was closer than it looks. All four Senators who?each for valid reasons?were unable to make the vote were DREAM Act supporters. Several others had indicated that they would vote in favor of the DREAM Act if it looked as if their votes would have made a difference. For the DREAM Act to have come so close is a remarkable accomplishment, given the level of panic now felt by many politicians about anything that affects immigrants

On the other hand, the DREAM Act suffered a major blow, perhaps the decisive one, when the White House came out in opposition just minutes before the vote. The reasons given for opposition were specious and small minded? a long way from the President who once expressed compassion and understanding for the plight of immigrants who have left their homelands, often with their children in tow, and made the sometimes dangerous journey to the U.S. in search of a better life here. He now appears to have abandoned any sympathy for those children.

Although it is now more of a long-shot, there is still a chance that the DREAM Act could be resurrected and enacted this year. It continues to enjoy bipartisan support, including a majority of the Senate and the some of the most powerful members of Congress. For the sake of tens of thousands of young people whose activism and powerful life stories have carried the DREAM Act so far, and for the sake of the nation, we will not give up.

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