As DREAM Act Fails, Lindsey Graham Tells Undocumented Youth They Wasted Their Time

lindsey grahamSaturday, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Forty-one mostly Republican senators voted against a bill which would have provided young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents a path to legalization by pursuing a college education or serving in the military. 55 voted in the affirmative.

Immediately before the vote failed, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took the Senate floor to tell the young DREAMers who have come to his office that they were “wasting their time” because the border hasn’t been secured:

To the DREAM Act, I have been involved in comprehensive immigration reform for many years. Senator Durbin and I have talked about how to make the DREAM Act part of comprehensive immigration reform. To those who have come to my office — you’re always welcome to come, but you’re wasting your time.

We’re not going to pass the DREAM Act or any other legalization program until we secure our borders. It will never be done as a stand-alone. It has to be part of comprehensive immigration reform.

Watch it:

What Graham didn’t mention is that though he has supported immigration reform in the past, he and his party are largely responsible for blocking it in 2010. First he held it hostage to health care reform, pitted it against climate change legislation, and then turned his back on it altogether. This summer, he declared his support for changing the 14th amendment to deny the U.S.-born children of immigrants citizenship.

Besides Graham, the Republican senators voting against the DREAM Act today included Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), and George Lemieux (R-FL) — all of whom come from Latino-heavy states and most of whom supported either the DREAM Act or comprehensive immigration reform in the past.

andrea nill

Andrea Christina Nill

So-called “moderate” Republicans, including Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and George Voinovich (R-OH) also voted against the bill. They were joined by a handful of Democrats: Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Pryor (D-AK), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and Jon Tester (D-MT).

Only three Republicans voted in favor of the bill. After the vote, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos openly wondered how Republicans will be able to ask Latinos to vote for them after killing the DREAM Act.

Andrea Nill

Wonk Room

About Andrea Christina Nill

Andrea Nill is an Immigration Researcher/Blogger for ThinkProgress.org and The Progress Report at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Political Science with a concentration in Latin American Studies and Law and Society. Prior to joining the center, Andrea was a Communications Associate at the Immigration Policy Center where she founded the blog, Immigration Impact. Andrea was also a Communications Specialist at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), specializing in bilingual public relations. Andrea was born in Guatemala and grew up in upstate New York.

Comments

  1. fred smith says:

    How about all those millions of dollers we spend on illegal dreamers be spent on deserving legal American youth.Legal Americans love their childen and want the best and biggest and brightest future for them.That future is made smaller and dimmer if we spend hard earned tax payer money on illegals instead of u ochil

  2. Half the “dream” students aren’t even Latino. Probably far fewer than half crossed the southern border. The Dream Act and the border really don’t have that much to do with each other.

  3. Great article! Just another example of the schizophrenic republicans at work.

  4. Jay Levenberg,Esq. says:

    The Senator is correct. The American people will never go for any immigration reform until something is done about the border. We have Americans being killed just over the line and things are so bad that Arizona had to try and take matter into their own hands. Where is the outrage over the killings taking place? In my opinion, we should tell Mexico that they have 6 months to secure their side of the border or it will impact upon their trade with us as well as their diplomatic status. I bet if we did this, they would act. Once the American people feel that the border has been secured, they will go along with needed immigration reform. This border business has been stopping the immigration situation from getting resolved. It’s time that our government acted firmly on this because it’s in everyone’s interest. The Dream Act is just another victim of what is going on along the border. Politics should be put aside and the problems should be solved without regard to who it helps in the next election.

    • “THEY” have been coming across our borders for 200 years. We spend enough resources to control our borders. How about a little compassion for people that want to have better lives???

    • Americans are not in favor of immigration reform or amnesty. The border does need to be sealed, and kept that way. No legalizing is needed for these invaders. Americans want enforcement, look at the exodus from Arizona just with the threat of enforcement. The dream act will NEVER pass, it is just a carrot for dopey latinos

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