Senate Blocks the DREAM Act

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Do it for the kids, their communities and the country’s long-term economic health. That’s the message Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was sending both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate regarding the DREAM Act vote that happened today. Unfortunately, they didn't listen. Although the senate voted 55-41 in favor of the DREAM act, they failed to get the 60 votes necessary to prevent a Republican filibuster and bring the bill to the floor.

Calling it a “personal battle” that started when he was head of the Chicago school district and saw opportunities fade away as undocumented kids with A and B averages and student leadership positions graduated and couldn’t go on to college, he pointed out the DREAM Act would have helped some 65,000 kids a year go on to college.

“The only way we’re going to maintain our country’s competitive advantage in a knowledge-based global economy, is through high quality education and providing more opportunity, not less. The country has been fundamentally backwards on this issue. To have the creativity, ingenuity of these young people  will not only change their families and their communities but would be of tremendous benefit to  the country.”

During the vote today, Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill), a main supporter of the bill said, “I want to make it clear to my colleagues, you won’t get many chances in the United states Senate, in the course of your career, to face clear votes on the issue of justice.” Though the bill had gained many supporters, from President Obama to Janet Napolitano, the democrats were unable to hold their ranks. The Democrats senators who voted no were; Max Baucus (MT), Kay Hagan (NC), Ben Nelson (NE), Mark Pryor (AK), and Jon Tester (MT).

Here’s what other top officials said about the DREAM Act prior to today's vote:

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis: “Early in my career, I worked as a student advisor and higher education recruitment counselor.  Many of the young people I worked with were undocumented, including a college-bound young man whose academic achievements and dedication to hard work made him a model student. Today he’s an environmental scientist. I think about him every time I talk about the DREAM Act–legislation designed to stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents.”

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke: “Every day, hundreds of thousands of Americans get up and go to work at blue chip companies like Pfizer, DuPont, Google, Procter and Gamble and Intel. These are very different companies operating in different industries – but they’ve got at least one thing in common.All of them were started by immigrants…These young people, who were brought to America by their parents when they were children, can be our future scientists, doctors, military leaders, and entrepreneurs.  America’s economic future depends on giving these children an opportunity to advance and succeed.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: “By providing a firm, but fair, means for individuals who were brought to the United States as children to adjust their status, the DREAM Act would bolster the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to focus our limited enforcement resources on detaining and removing criminal aliens and those who pose a threat to our national security and public safety.”

Defense Under Secretary Dr. Clifford L. Stanley: “In three decades of service in the Marine Corps, I served with many people who immigrated to our nation looking for a better life.  Regardless of their backgrounds, they had–and still have–one core mission in life: to serve others. There is a rich tradition of non-citizens serving in the United States military since the Revolutionary War.  Their life experiences, languages and cultures enhance diversity, ensuring that our military continues to represent the nation it serves.  The DREAM Act would build on this tradition.”

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About this author

Damarys Ocaña Perez,

Damarys Ocaña Perez is Director of Editorial Content at Latina Media Ventures. She leads its magazine, Latina, the pre-eminent beauty, fashion, culture and lifestyle magazine for acculturated U.S. Hispanic women and is responsible for maintaining Latina’s voice, vision and mission across all LMV platforms. Born in Havana and raised in Miami, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

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