NAICU Washington Update

DREAM Act Defeated in Senate

October 25, 2007

The Senate has rejected a bill that would have allowed college-bound illegal immigrant minors access to green cards, and expanded educational opportunities. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, S. 2205, would have removed some of the federal barriers to higher education for illegal immigrant children who have lived most of their lives in the U.S., attended American schools, and now have the desire and ability to go to college.

Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), introduced the bill, and pushed for consideration on the Senate floor. On October 24, S. 2205 failed by a 52-44 vote - short of the 60 votes necessary to allow the Senate to consider the legislation. This means it's unlikely that we will see any further consideration of immigration legislation for the remainder of the year.

Senators who opposed bringing the DREAM Act to the floor were not necessarily opponents of the measure, but feared stripping these least controversial measures from comprehensive immigration legislation and moving them separately. Many feel this will hurt - if not preclude - any broad-scale immigration reform.

NAICU joined several other higher education associations in sending a letter to members of the Senate, voicing our strong support for the DREAM Act. The letters emphasized that it is in our nation's best interest to educate all interested students, and that we have a responsibility to assist young people who are already living in our communities, and who are working hard to be productive members of society, by providing increased access to higher education.

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