On October 25, 2007, the United States Senate rejected the Dream Act (Development, Relief and Education of Minors Act) by a vote of 52-44. The Dream Act would have allowed illegal immigrants who plan to attend college or join the military, and who arrived in the United States with their families before they turned 16, to become legal residents and ultimately citizens. In order to make the legislation veto proof, supporters of the Dream Act fell 8 votes short of the 60 that they needed to do so. Originally, the Dream Act was part of a broad immigration plan that would have legalized as many as 12 million unlawful immigrants and fortified the border. The broader plan failed in the Senate, as major boosters such as Senator John McCain bailed out on his support of the measure when he believed it was negatively impacting his presidential campaign chances.
The irony is that those who would most benefit by the Dream Act are children who certainly cannot be held responsible for their illegal status in this country as a result of the actions of their parents. As Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat stated: “What crime did these children commit?…They committed the crime of obeying their parents and following their parents to this country. Do you think there was a vote in the household about their future? I don’t think so.”
Moreover, don’t we want to encourage and support those who intend to benefit our country by becoming educated citizens who contribute to the economy and who are willing to support our country through military service?