Senate Republicans on Saturday doomed an effort that would have given hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status if they enrolled in college or joined the military.
Sponsors of the Dream Act fell five votes short of the 60 they needed to break through largely GOP opposition and win its enactment before Republicans take over the House and narrow Democrats’ majority in the Senate next month.
Dozens of immigrants wearing graduation mortarboards watched from the Senate’s visitors gallery, disappointment on their faces, as the 55-41 vote was announced.
“This is a dark day in America,” said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles. “The Senate has … thrown under the bus the lives and hard work of thousands and thousands of students who love this country like their own home, and, in fact, they have no other home.”
It targeted the most sympathetic of the millions of illegal immigrants — those brought to the United States as children, who in many cases consider themselves American, speak English and have no ties to or family living in their native countries.
“They stand in the classrooms and pledge allegiance to our flag,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the bill’s chief sponsor. “This is the only country they have ever known. All they’re asking for is a chance to serve this nation.”
Critics called the bill a backdoor grant of amnesty that would encourage more foreigners to sneak into the United States in hopes of being legalized eventually.
Never mind that children brought by their parents have NO CHOICE. Got that? And in exchange for citizenship, they are willing to serve our country, get educated, and become your picture of a productive, tax-paying citizen. Nope, just block EVERYTHING.