The DREAM Act is dead, falling eight votes shy of the requisite 60 to begin debate in the U.S. Senate.
The vote, 52-44, while in favor of starting debate was not enough to prevent a filibuster. The DREAM Act, which stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM), was part of the larger immigration reform bill that collapsed earlier this year. Proponents carved it out and put it up as a standalone bill, with bi-partisan support, hoping it would pass on its own, according to an article in the Oct. 25 edition of the Washington Post, also available online.
On the morning of the vote Wednesday, the Bush administration issued a policy statement coming out against the DREAM Act, essentially saying it rewards and encourages illegal behavior, despite having supported it as part of the overall immigration reform package earlier this year.
Other critics opposed the bill not for its substance, but because it was attempting immigration reform piecemeal. They say reform bit-by-bit will only lead to a contradictory and unworkable mess of local, state and national immigration laws, arguing instead comprehensive immigration reform is the responsible solution, reports The Hill online.
The DREAM Act was designed to address the situation faced by the children of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States years ago and who have grown up here, stayed in school, and kept out of trouble. The legislation would provide a path to permanent residence and citizenship for these immigrant youth if they pursue higher education or serve in the military, according to the position paper written by AILA that summarizes the benefits of the law.