Despite passionate floor speeches by U.S. Senators Richard J. Durbin and Harry Reid, both Democrats, supporters of legislation that would give some undocumented students in this country a path toward legalization failed yesterday to win the 60 votes they needed for the bill to proceed in the legislative process. According to the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Senate, 52 senators voted “yea” on the “DREAM Act,” 40 lawmakers voted “nay,” and four didn’t vote.
“I could go through for an hour or more the stories of these young people that I’ve met,” Mr. Durbin said in his remarks on the floor. “They are hopeful and heartbreaking at the same time—hopeful because these are young people who have the same dreams that my children have, the same dreams that every American has, to have a good life, a good family.”
He characterized the undocumented youths who would benefit from the bill as hard workers who deserve a chance to be legalized.
Critics of the bill say that it’s providing a form of amnesty to undocumented people. For more on the bill, see “Defense Authorization Moves Forward Without “DREAM Act.” The DREAM Act is short for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.
Oct. 25 Update: A spokeswoman for Sen. Durbin told me in a telephone conversation today that because the current legislative session ends soon—Nov. 16—the DREAM Act doesn’t have a chance of passing this fall. She noted that Sen. Durbin has said, “It’s tough to get immigration legislation passed in this session. Imagine how tough it will be during the last session before the presidential elections.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.