House passes Dream Act, Senate delays its vote listen12/09/10 Seán Kinane
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Last night the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Dream Act, but a vote was delayed in the Senate this morning. The act would give conditional green cards to undocumented immigrants if they graduate from high school and pursue college or a job in the military. They could eventually apply for citizenship if they meet all requirements. Opponents, like Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter, don’t want these undocumented immigrants to have a path to citizenship.
"The Dream Act is a major amnesty provision. There are no two ways about it. It grants at least 2.1 million 'illegals' amnesty and it puts them on a path towards citizenship which will also allow them to have their family members put in legal status in this country. That means when you count all of those people there are probably two to three times that initial 2.1 million people who will be granted some form of amnesty. When we're not securing our borders adequately, when we're not putting a system in place to enforce workplace security I think that is absolutely wrong."
Because of objections like that from Republicans, Democrats decided on the delay because they do not have the 60 votes needed to advance the bill. Supporters, like Senator Dick Durbin, say that kids brought into the country shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their parents.
"We owe it to the young men and women who's lives will be affected, we owe it to America who needs their service in the military and needs their skill in building our economy. To honestly address this issue and ask members of both sides to sit down, pause and reflect as to whether or not we can afford to say to these talented young men and women there's no place in America for you. There is a place. There's a place for them as there was a place for my mother who came to this country at the age of 2 as an immigrant, who's mother and father could barely speak the English language, but who eventually gave birth to a son who stands here today as a Senator from the State of Illinois. My story is an American story. The story of these Dream Act students is an American story."
Durbin is a Democrat from Illinois and the Majority Whip.
Over in the House last night, Tampa-area member of Congress Kathy Castor voted with the majority to support the Dream Act.
“Our country is built upon a foundation of equality, liberty and opportunity. These values apply to all except a small group of young people who for no fault of their own have been stuck in limbo and face obstacles to education and productivity. The Dream Act will breathe new life into their hopes and dreams and the economies of our local communities.”
Representative Castor is a Democrat. Senate Democrats will wait until after considering bills to fund the government and extend tax cuts. Then they’ll consider the same version of the Dream Act passed by the House last night.