Photo: DREAM Act
The five Democrats who voted against the DREAM Act and ultimately lead to its failing in the Senate yesterday will not soon be forgotten. The immigrant community is growing not only in numbers, but they are increasing their power by becoming more politically aware.
Democrats who voted no: Max Baucus and John Tester of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
President Obama received a message from the newly empowered Republicans yesterday that his priority on immigration is not theirs. Obama’s approach was to increase border security and workplace enforcement to entice the Republicans to support the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that only benefits children brought here illegally. Clearly this strategy did not work and now Obama will face growing pressure by Latino groups to do something. Latino’s came out in strength in the mid-term elections and are responsible for saving the Democratic Majority in the Senate.
Despite the defeat, Democrats who supported the bill said they would continue to push for it. “As long as these young people are determined to be part of this great nation, I am determined to fight for them to call America home,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the bill’s main champion.
Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, another sponsor, said Latinos would remember in the elections in 2012 how senators had voted.
“This is a vote that will not soon be forgotten by a community that is growing not just in size, but also in power and political awareness,” Mr. Menendez said.
“We have woken up,” said Carlos Saavedra, national coordinator of the United We Dream Network, a student group. “We are going to go around the country letting everybody know who stands with us and who stood against us.”
The 65,000 undocumented students who graduate from High School every year will serve to refuel the fire.