Orrin Hatch Calls Vote On Immigration Bill He Once Co-Sponsored ‘A Cynical Exercise’

Orrin HatchBack in 2003, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sponsored S.1545 — the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Back then, the bill attracted co-sponsors like Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John McCain (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Sam Brownback (R-KS). All of those Republican senators voted against a more conservative version of the same bill this past Saturday. Hatch simply didn’t bother to show up.

Yet, Hatch couldn’t just leave it at that. The Deseret News reports:

Sen. Orrin Hatch said he skipped a vote on the failed DREAM Act over the weekend because it was a “cynical exercise in political charades” by the Senate’s Democratic leadership. [...]

“The American people sent a clear message in the November elections that they want Congress to focus on getting the economy moving,” he said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, Senate majority leaders have opted instead to move ahead with show votes aimed at currying favor with their far left political constituencies.”

The Deseret News also notes that, as recently as this past summer, Hatch was singing a much different tune. On July 7, the senator expressed his support of the DREAM Act at a town hall meeting, saying, “A lot of these kids are brought in as infants. They don’t even know that they’re not citizens until they graduate from high school…If they’ve lived good lives and they’ve done good things, why would we penalize them and not let them at least go to school?”

Andrea NillHatch now claims his remarks were taken out of context.

Hatch’s flip-flop may have something to do with the fact that he’s up for reelection in 2012 and has already been identified as the tea party’s next target.

The other Republican senator from Utah, Bob Bennett, was one of three Republicans who voted in support of the DREAM Act on Saturday. He will be leaving the Senate after being stripped of his party’s nomination earlier this year by a tea party candidate.

Andrea Nill

Republished with permission from the Wonk Room.

Published by the LA Progressive on December 22, 2010
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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.