The following is a statement from Angela M. Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy at the Center for American Progress, on the passage of the DREAM Act in the House and the decision to table the vote in the Senate:
"The dreams of hundreds of thousands of young people to contribute to our economy and national security remain alive today after the Senate leadership vowed to continue the debate next week and take up the DREAM Act approved late Wednesday by the House in a bipartisan vote.
The Senate, deeply mired in partisan rancor that has blocked progress on important legislation, faced the Republicans’ threat to stand in the way of even common-sense legislation like DREAM until a deal is reached on a proposed tax cut package.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Democratic Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) decided to table a vote scheduled for today that would likely have resulted in unanimous opposition by Republicans in order to give the Senate the time and space needed to negotiate the tax deal. That opposition would have been extremely unfortunate since seven current Republican senators have previously voted for the DREAM Act. This agreement gives them the opportunity to reaffirm their longstanding votes for the bill.
Not to be overshadowed, the House deserves wide praise for doing right by these children by approving the DREAM Act.
In its first major positive immigration vote of the 21st century, a bipartisan House voted for this measure that would allow high-achieving young students the opportunity to apply for legal status. These are students of good moral character but who lack citizenship because they were brought to our country without documents. This proposal would require students to attend college for at least two years or enlist in the U.S. military, making them valuable contributors to our economic and national security. The DREAM Act would increase revenues by $1.7 billion over 10 years.
This historic House approval of the DREAM Act shows what can happen when sober, rational debate and pragmatic solutions overcome irrational fear-mongering and false information espoused by immigration opponents. The legislation is supported by the public and by newspapers from all regions across the country as well as educators, the military, business, labor, and faith community leaders who clearly see the vast promise of the next generation.
The Senate now has an opportunity to vote for this practical, bipartisan solution.
The Center for American Progress applauds the valiant leadership of Sens. Reid and Durbin, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who ensured consideration of the DREAM Act."