On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which has sat untouched in Congress for the past decade, only for it to be tabled by the Senate the following morning.
The act, which would allow undocumented youths to become legal citizens by going to college or joining he military, was introduced in 2001 to considerable conservative opposition.
The Senate decided to lay aside the legislation in favor of taking up the version approved in the House, postponing further discussion indefinitely.
â€œThe Senate has always been conservative,â€ said senior political science major Jordan Von Bokern of the Senateâ€™s decision to table the legislation. â€œItâ€™s not surprising, but it is disheartening that they wouldnâ€™t take a stand on it and deal with it.â€
Von Bokern also serves as director of Finance for the Associated Students of CSU but said his comment was not on behalf of the organization, which prefers to remain neutral in most political matters.
If the legislation passes, undocumented students ages 12 to 35 who were brought into the United States before they turned 16 can apply for the DREAM Act as long as they meet the actâ€™s requirements.
Students who apply must have lived in the United States for five consecutive years before the billâ€™s enactment, graduated from a U.S. high school, obtained a GED or acceptance from an institution of higher education and have good moral character.
The Democrats currently have enough of a majority to pass the DREAM Act in the Senate. But since they didnâ€™t have the 60 votes necessary to â€œbreak the Republican filibuster threat,â€ the party pulled the current draft of the bill, according to Kyle Saunders, an associate professor in CSUâ€™s Department of Political Science.
â€œThe problem is that the DREAM Act is perhaps less of a legislative priority for both parties than the debates over income taxes and other issues,â€ Saunders said in an e-mail to the Collegian.â€œTherefore, it just isnâ€™t getting the media or partisan attention that the income tax and other issues has been getting over the past couple of weeks.â€
Saunders said the bill will likely be back in Congress in the next session, but the existing version will probably never be voted on.
â€œInstead, DREAM will likely have to be watered down even further to gain enough bipartisan support to get it through the new Republican-controlled House,â€ Saunders said.
Eight Republicans voted with Democrats on the approval in the House Wednesday night, according to a statement from the White Houseâ€™s press secretary. The legislation is expected to receive bipartisan support in the Senate, in light of the Houseâ€™s decision.
â€œThe young people covered under this bill are the children any parent would be proud of: Our sons and daughters, neighbors, classmates, prom kings and queens, football players and cheerleaders who stayed in school, played by the rules, worked hard, stayed out of trouble,â€ U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-2, said during a Dec. 8 floor statement in Washington, D.C.
Polis, who is nationally known for his advocacy of the DREAM Act, was elected in 2008 to represent Coloradoâ€™s 2nd Congressional District.
â€œThese DREAMers embody the very best among our American values, and we should be proud to call them our countrymen,â€ he added.
City Council Beat Reporter Erin Udell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.