DREAM Act Vote In The Senate Today

... And it all comes down to this, at 2:15 PM eastern the Senate will vote cloture on a motion to proceed to the Defense Authorization Legislation. As of now, Defense Authorization does not contain the DREAM Act, however Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that he will attach the legislation as an amendment if it passes cloture today.

It should be very clear, that while Republican's currently bemoan the fact that the DREAM Act is not germane to Defense Authorization, and say that it's inclusion will cost their vote, DREAM is not actually attached to the bill that will be voted on today.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 CRS bill summary shows that the DREAM Act has not yet been added as an amendment.

Though there is wide support for the DREAM Act, among Democrats, and military personnel, at this point it is not looking very good for the Defense Authorization bill as a whole.  Peter Shrag of the LA Times has more in his story Dashing the DREAM Act:

The chances that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can deliver on his promise to move the so-called DREAM Act toward passage in the Senate this week range from slim to none.

But the announcement that it would be added as an amendment to the Defense Department authorization bill has energized pro-immigrant groups, even as it underlines the fact that there'll be no comprehensive immigration reform any time in the near future. Not this year, certainly, and probably not next year either.

The article also does a great job at showing exactly what is at stake for immigrants:

The bipartisan DREAM (for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which was to have been part of comprehensive reform, would make it possible for as many as 2.1 million undocumented young immigrants to start on the path to legalization. Roughly 26% are in California. In the Senate, the leading sponsors are Republican Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and Democrat Richard J. Durbin of Illinois. In the House, they are Democrats Howard L. Berman of Valley Village and Lucille Roybal-Allard of East Los Angeles and Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida.

Even if the DOD Authorization fails to move past a cloture vote today and there is no vote on the DREAM Act, it is possible that the legislation is punted to a lame duck session after the elections.

Washington Post writer Edward Schumacher-Matos notes that even if there is no vote, there may be a positive outcome for Democrats and Activists. Matos has the full story in his article Dems playing politics with immigration -- and it's good policy:

And it's about time the Democrats got politically tough, because the amendment is also good policy.

This might also help Democratic candidates in states such as California, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, where the Latino vote makes a difference. Immigration is second only to jobs in importance to Latinos, according to polls, but they were feeling forsaken by Obama and the Democrats over stalled comprehensive reform.


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