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Blog: Holding on to the DREAM

Dec 10, 2010 | By Andrea Pascual

On December 8, 2010, during a debate on the DREAM Act, Senator Durbin announced on the Senate floor, “If you or I were driving down the highway and speeding, pulled over by a policeman, given a ticket, we’d understand it. But if they also gave a ticket to your young daughter in the backseat, you’d say, ‘that’s not fair, she wasn’t driving.' These children [the dreamers] were not driving!”

Some Republicans have tried to change the name of the DREAM Act to the Amnesty Act, but this is not amnesty. This is fair, and just policy! These are kids who were brought to the United States without papers, at no fault of their own. We should not penalize them for listening to their parents.

For the past ten years, these American-raised students have been hoping and praying for their dream of attending college or being able to serve this country to come true. Why would we deny good kids the opportunity to contribute to our society? Stephanie Valencia, the Associate Director for the White House Office of Public Engagement, recently posted on the White House Blog, “10 Reasons We Need the DREAM Act” (key word: need). She highlights how it will positively affect our education system, our military and our economy, DREAM.

Recently, the House passed the DREAM Act. As we celebrate this victory it is time to keep faith that the Senate will open their hearts to the DREAM Act. The fight is not over, and this bill is not dead!

Here is an explanation of the current status of DREAM:

Yesterday, the Senate voted on a motion to table the DREAM cloture vote, reflecting a strategic decision to buy time to build more support for the DREAM Act.

If you were watching the vote or saw a headline about it, you may have been puzzled as to why Senate Leader Reid made a motion to table his own cloture motion, and why so many Democrats voted for it. Why did this happen?

It’s complicated. Republicans have vowed to block every bill in the Senate until the issues of tax cuts and funding of the government for the current fiscal year are resolved.  Democratic leadership decided they would push back the DREAM vote until these other issues are resolved. Once the tax cuts and government funding are dealt with, Republicans will not be able to use them as excuses to oppose the DREAM Act.

However, Senator Reid needed “Unanimous Consent” to withdraw his cloture motion and push back the vote.  He did not get it, forcing him to offer a motion to table the cloture vote. 
Procedural trick: By tabling the cloture vote, Democrats will be able to bring the DREAM Act up again in the coming days when the other issues have been resolved.

Bottom line: Our allies in the Senate know that DREAM supporters have momentum coming out of the House victory yesterday. They want to take the additional time, remove excuses now being made by Republicans, and cultivate more support for DREAM in the Senate.

A real vote on DREAM in the Senate will be scheduled later.  Please continue to contact your senators and tell them to support the DREAM Act.

Here is the phone number you can call to be patched through to your senators’ offices: 866-996-5161.