After the long-awaited Congressional vote on the DREAM Act, and despite its passage in the House of Representatives, the Senate Democrats decided to put this bill on hold in stead of trying to break the expected Republican filibuster on Thursday. Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, forced a vote to call off the attempt presumably so that he could try again at a later-and more favorable- date. If the Senate would have had approved the bill, it would have gone straight to President Obama in the final days of this 111th Congress and would have represented a significant win for advocates of immigration reform. Unfortunately, this is not so.
The adversity this bill faced from the get-go proved to be insurmountable. As things stand now on Capitol Hill, the combination of rancor vis-à-vis the economic hurdles that plague our nation greatly disfavored the bill’s passage. This became self-evident in the House of Representatives last Wednesday night when just eight Republicans joined 208 Democrats in backing it. The smear campaign that was unleashed that falsely tried to make DREAM appear to be an Amnesty for illegal immigrants further fueled the pool of myths and misconceptions. Moreover, although we are certain this bill will be brought back in the near future, due to the fact that the Republican Party is set to take over the House and make gains in the Senate starting next year, it is highly likely the bill will be stripped of its most overreaching clauses, thus coming back in a different form that would have an altogether mild effect on this country’s immigration policy.
The DREAM Act, which would confer legal status on a select group of undocumented children who were brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own, and who enrolled in college or in the military, was regarded as a great piece of legislation for the overwhelmingly positive impact it would have on the U.S. economy and workforce, along with its ability to better increase national security and national educational standards. Unfortunately, 2010 will not go down in history as the year in which a progressive and fair piece of immigration legislation became law. Until the next time this bill is reintroduced on the Congressional floor, thousands of people-both young and old, documented or not- will continue to rally for the passage of this as is occurring in the cities of Miami and New York in order to call public attention to the issue. Until then, the pursuit of justice will be left in the hands of our mostcompetent immigration attorneys and the respected community of lawyers in Florida.