Bill giving children of illegal immigrants path to legal residency stalls in Senate News
Bill giving children of illegal immigrants path to legal residency stalls in Senate

[JURIST] The US Senate voted Wednesday against proceeding to a final vote on the DREAM Act of 2007 [PDF text; S 2205 materials], a bill that would amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 [text; unofficial summary] to allow certain children of illegal immigrants an opportunity to achieve legal residency. According to the Congressional Research Service bill summary [text], the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, in part:

Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who: (1) entered the United States before his or her sixteenth birthday, and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act; (4) at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education, or has earned a high school or equivalent diploma; (5) from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal; and (6) is under 30 years old on the date of enactment of this Act.

The motion to invoke cloture in order to limit debate on the bill and move toward a final vote needed 60 votes to pass but only received 52 [roll call]. Eight Democrats and 36 Republicans voted against the motion, and 12 Republicans, 38 Democrats, and two independents cast "yea" votes.

Conventional wisdom holds that the DREAM Act was the last opportunity for the Senate to consider meaningful immigration reform [JURIST news archive] before the 2008 elections. In June, the Senate rejected [JURIST report] a proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill. Reuters has more. AFP has additional coverage.