65,000 children lost the dream of citizenship today, because of concerns that their attaining the right to becoming American citizens would open the floodgates to more illegals entering the country and rewarding those already here, but the painful rejection of the children leaves no answer in sight experts say.
In the wake of the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” freeing gays from the responsibilities of having to deny or hide their sexual orientation, the DREAM Act’s demise on the same day is said to be a step backwards in the immigration debate, even as the civil rights of gays was enhanced.
In that group of three million students that leave the high schools of America to pursue jobs and college educations, 65,000 hispanic youth won’t realize their dreams. They will live in the shadow land, where they can’t afford, for many reasons, to return to Mexico and are now children with no country.
The DREAM Act was built on bipartisan legislation, put together by Sen. Orin Hatch [R-UT] and Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL] , although Hatch voted against it as he stated it was just being used as a tool of the Democrats. It would have allowed youth to be eligible for citizenship following a six year path with specific conditions that required either obtaining a college degree or two years of military service.
While the DREAM act went down to a temporary, if not final, defeat in the Senate, what solutions might come next if this more modest one has failed?
Most of the votes against the DREAM Act were along party lines. In Louisiana, for example, Senator David Vitter voted against the Act and Senator Mary Landrieu in favor. Landrieu, considered a Blue Dog Democrat, was one of those who said she would follow principles in making her decision and asked others to remember that the Act involved the hopes of children, who were born and raised in this country for the most part, and want to be good citizens as well. Going to college or serving in the military are evidences ordinarily mentioned by many Americans as evidence of that.
This was the response by an advocacy group that has worked for bipartisan support for immigration reform.”Our Senators have left so many young people unnecessarily in continuing limbo,” said Ann Schaffer, director of AJC’s Belfer Center for American Pluralism. “Instead of creating a clear path for the many undocumented young people who have graduated American high schools and are eager to go on to college and contribute to our economy and society, the Senate has delivered a stunning and painful message that they are not welcome.”
The specifics of the DREAM Act show a serious plan for young people to become citizens. One of those specifics outlines good moral character as one of those specifics, but that too was not enough for the up vote of 62 Senators required to pass the Act.
Those who rebuffed the passage of the Act are represented by this statement by Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), who referred to the DREAM Act amnesty defeat as “an important victory for the American people in their long-standing quest to achieve immigration reform that serves the public interest.” Stein goes on to say that after the lame duck Congress, the members can go on to “true immigration reform,” something that has been brought to the table during the eight years of the Bush administration and pending for two years in Obama’s tenure to date.
Senator Orrin G. Hatch
Senator Richard J. Durbin
Frequently Asked Questions – Basic Information
AJC Calls Senate’s Rejection of DREAM Act ‘Missed Opportunity’
Defeat of DREAM Act Gives Hope of True Reform in New Congress