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Latino Daily News

Tuesday December 7, 2010

24 Hours Before DREAM Act Vote - How are the Votes Stacking Up?

24 Hours Before DREAM Act Vote - How are the Votes Stacking Up?

Photo: Utah Republican Orrin Hatch

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Who is standing, switching, and teetering on the DREAM Act fence.

Over the last decade, the DREAM Act has been in the hands of many politicians, but these days it’s tough to determine who stands where on the bill as it comes to a probable vote tomorrow.

Case in point, Orrin Hatch. Back in 2001, and again in 2003, the Utah Republican was the chief sponsor of the DREAM Act when first introduced, but has since backed off due to the fear of potential Tea Party challengers in 2012.

Due in large part to flip-flopping like Hatch’s, DREAM Act supporters are likely to see the bill fail once more on Wednesday as hopes for passage in the current lame-duck session are dwindling, and the votes appear to be against them.

Hatch says Democrats are only going ahead with the lame-duck push to gain favor from their constituency, but Hatch’s current stance is a far cry from what it was just four years ago when he and a number of fellow Republicans were in favor of a more liberal approach to immigration. The entire GOP was shaken when a grass-roots movement began and pushed the party towards a harsher advance on undocumented immigration. 

In 2006 when the larger issue of immigration reform came to a vote 73 senators were in favor and that included 30 Republicans.  On the eve of voting for the DREAM Act here are where some key players stand:

—In 2007, when a bill similar to the DREAM Act was proposed, Kaye Bailey Hutchison was one of seven Senate Republicans to vote in its favor, but has since promised to vote against the DREAM Act with her office saying, “She will not support legislation now being put forward as the DREAM Act because it goes far beyond dealing with [students educated in the United States.].”

Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah is a surprise as he is one of the few 2007 DREAM Act supporters in the Republican party having said he would support the law if it came up as a stand-alone bill.

Sen Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) voted in favor of the bill in 2007, but has already stated he will not do the same again. A spokesman claimed Nelson wishes the Senate would focus on jobs, and economy ahead of all other efforts. He also believes the borders should be secured and the DREAM Act attached to a broader look at comprehensive immigration reform, before he will vote in its favor.

—Indiana Senator Dick Lugar’s vote is now up in the air. Though having voted for the DREAM Act in 2007, the current incarnation of the measure was brought to fruition without the input of the senator, making his stance unclear.

Other Republicans last believed to be in support of the act were Sens. Sam Brownback (Kansas), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Susan Collins (Maine).

Democrats who opposed the 2007 DREAM Act were Senators Max Baucus (Montana), Kent Conrad (North Dakota), Byron Dorgan (North Dakota), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Claire McCaskill (Missouri),  Mark Pryor (Arkansas), and Jon Tester (Montana).