Saturday, 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.
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.
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.