Democratic-backed DREAM ACT fails Senate test vote
By JESSE J. HOLLAND
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP): Legislation to give some children of undocumented immigrants a path toward legal residence failed a crucial U.S. Senate vote Oct. 25, 2007, probably dooming any chance of major changes to the immigration system this year.
Supporters needed 60 votes to advance the proposal, but the tally was 52-44. The measure would have allowed undocumented immigrants who plan to attend college or join the military, and who came to the United States with their families before they turned 16, to move toward legality.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act—DREAM ACT for short—was a popular part of a broad immigration plan that would have legalized as many as 12 million undocumented immigrants and fortified the border.
That larger bill failed in the Senate in June. Proponents of the DREAM Act wanted to see if it would pass on its own.
“Children should not be penalized for the actions of their parents,'' said Sen. Harry Reid, leader of the majority Democrats in the Senate.
``What crime did these children commit?'' added Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat. ``They committed the crime of obeying their parents and following their parents to this country. Do you think there was a vote in the household about their future? I don't think so.''
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker in the House, said by blocking the bill, ``Senate Republicans prevented a critical first step to address our nation’s broken immigration system.''
But Republican opponents of the bill said the plan was the first step to amnesty, which they said the Senate rejected in June. ``I do not believe we should reward illegal behavior,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said.