After Democrats shepherded the DREAM Act through a narrow win in the House yesterday (216-198), Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid called for a vote to table the Senate version of the bill this morning. The intention? To take up the successful House version of the bill instead and try to get the 60 votes needed to get it through the Senate before the lame-duck session is over this month.
The new vote may take place next week. But the bill, which would forge a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children (provided they are currently under 30, pass background checks and either serve in the military or attend college), still faces an uphill battle.
Though President Obama has called the bill “the right thing for America” and its young people, Republicans—some of whom have branded the bill the Nightmare Act and who have characterized is as amnesty in disguise—have promised to block it once it reaches the Senate floor.
DREAM Act supporters remained positive that the bill would prevail, emphasizing the need to invest in the country’s future generations and the estimated $2.3 billion that supporters said kids who’d be affected by the DREAM Act would pump into the economy.
“Yesterday was a bumpy ride for Dreamers,” said DREAM Act activist and undocumented student Gaby Pacheco, of United We Dream, during a press conference this afternoon. “We had tears of joy. We hope to see this legislation, which has always had bipartisan support, come through in the following days and that we’ll be able to give not just ourselves a good Christmas gift, but also the American people a nice bonus. Because we’d be giving not just $2.3 billion into the economy, but also our talents, our desires and the love that we have for this country, that fire that we have to serve and give back.”