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Senate Shatters Students’ DREAM

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07102470 (posted Oct. 24, 2007)"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

CONTACT: George Tzamaras
202-216-2410 gtzamaras@aila.org

WASHINGTON, DC - In a stunning display of heartlessness and gutlessness, the Senate voted today to quash the dreams and aspirations of hundreds of thousands of American students. The 52-44 vote in favor of proceeding to debate on the DREAM Act (S. 2205) fell eight votes short of the necessary 60 vote threshold. That eight-vote shortfall means a generation of American kids will remain stranded at the schoolhouse door. And while the vote is a nightmare for children, families, educators, and military recruiters throughout the country, it will also haunt the long-term political fortunes of those Senators standing on the wrong side of justice.

Make no mistake about it, the vote on this bill was about much more than immigration policy, it was a vote about who we are as a country. These young people were brought to the United States by their parents at an age where they had no say in the decision. Many have spent the majority of their lives in the United States and consider themselves to be Americans. Like their U.S.-born peers, they dream of pursuing a higher education or serving their country, but they are prevented from doing so because they lack legal status.

Obviously, our failed immigration policies put these kids in an untenable predicament and this bill sought to provide an avenue for them to secure legal immigration status. That, however, was simply a means to the bill's end of providing these faultless kids with an opportunity to fulfill their dreams, maximize their potential, and contribute to this nation. Today's vote to deny them that opportunity is a sad commentary on the state of American politics.

Our purported policy makers have shown a keen knack for sidestepping critical public policy issues and immigration policy is Exhibit A. So we commend and thank Senators Reid (D-NV), Durbin (D-IL), Lugar (R-IN), and Hagel (R-NE) for their courage and commitment in forcing the Senate to face its responsibilities and take an up or down vote on this important issue. Sadly, too many of their colleagues succumbed to the political fears generated by a vocal cabal of xenophobic extremists.

There will be a number of additional opportunities over the next few months to pursue narrow, targeted immigration policy reforms. AILA, along with the rest of the country, will be watching closely to see if the immigration restrictionists in Congress continue their slow march to political suicide or do what they were elected to do: make smart policy choices that will advance America's interests and solve America's problems.

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. For more information contact George Tzamaras at 202-216-2410 or Annie Wilson at 202-216-2435.

 
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