DREAM Act Drama

by Published on

It’s been an intense couple of days for the DREAM Act legislation in Congress. First, the euphoria of the passage of the bill in the House Wednesday night. Then, the cold, hard reality of the gridlocked Senate Thursday morning. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid pulled a series of legislative  maneuvers today on the floor so that the Senate can bring up the House version some time next week.

Advocates and opponents of the legislation are parsing the Senate moves today, to try and determine what it means for the bill’s future. Reid moved to “vitiate” the cloture vote twice – this is the vote to bring up legislation for consideration. That failed twice. He then moved to table the vote until the Senate can bring up the House version. This motion passed with 59 ayes, 40 nays and 1 not voting. Here’s a breakdown of the votes.

Republican senators, such as Texas’ very own John Cornyn, have been coming up with all sorts of vague reasons for not voting for the legislation. Cornyn did a series of interviews with media yesterday about the bill. He complained that he hadn’t had time to debate or amend the bill. But the legislation has been kicking around Congress for a decade.

“If this was a serious effort to have a discussion and a debate, with a full opportunity to offer amendments and to deal with our broken immigration system as a whole, I would welcome that debate and the opportunity to participate in it,” Cornyn told the Rio Grande Guardian.

Right. Cornyn’s really been engaged in immigration reform. His only response to immigration reform for several years is to “secure the borders” and to deport approximately 10 million people, which isn’t even logical, let alone affordable. Passing the DREAM Act would allow university students and kids who enter the military to legalize their status here and fully contribute to society. These are kids who came to the United States through no choice of their own, and who have spent the majority of their lives here.

The most laughable quote of all from Cornyn in the Guardian story was his claim that Reid bringing up the DREAM Act in the Senate was nothing more than politics.

“That’s why it’s such a transparent political exercise and not really designed to have a meaningful debate and deliberative process with regard to these important matters of public policy,” said Cornyn.

So Cornyn’s “no” vote isn’t a transparent political exercise? Really, Senator we can see right through you.

Melissa del Bosque joined The Texas Observer staff in 2008. She specializes in reporting on immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border. Her work has been published in national and international publications including TIME magazine and the Mexico City-based Nexos magazine. She has a master’s in public health from Texas A&M University and a master’s in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.