DREAMS Deferred for Hundreds of Thousands of Children
Immigration Bill Falls Short in the Senate
Washington D.C. – Today, the United States Senate failed to invoke cloture on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act with a vote of 55-41. The measure required 60 votes for passage thereby thwarting the clear will of a majority in the Senate. If passed, the bipartisan DREAM Act would have provided undocumented students brought to the United States as children with the opportunity to earn permanent legal status upon meeting certain requirements.
Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, issued the following statement:
"Once again, hundreds of thousands of innocent children are left facing an uncertain future due to political gridlock. Despite widespread support from business, education, military, and religious leaders, as well as 70 percent of the American people, a minority of Senators chose to stand in the way of making the DREAM Act a reality this year.
"Until the DREAM Act becomes law, Eric Balderas, a Harvard student majoring in biology who came to the U.S. when he was just 4 years old, will not achieve his dream of helping to find a cure for cancer one day. And until the DREAM Act becomes law, Cesar Vargas, an accomplished law school student who came to the U.S. at the age of 5, will not achieve his dream of serving in the U.S. military. And we as a country will continue to miss out on the much needed talents of these young people who are American in every way except paperwork.
"We are extremely disappointed that a minority of Republicans and moderate Democrats chose to vote against the bill without any attempt to engage on the substance of the bill over the past few weeks. Rather than stand by children, these Senators have instead held the dreams of so many children hostage to partisan rhetoric and political gridlock. Rest assured, this is a vote that will be remembered for years to come, and those who chose to vote against children will be held accountable.
"We applaud the leadership of Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) for championing this legislation. We also commend the heroic efforts of so many youth leaders who opened their hearts and shared their stories with the American people over the past year. While today's loss is indeed a tragedy, we look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and our allies in Congress to make the DREAM a reality in the near future."