‘Dream Act’ immigration bill blocked in U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (BestGrowthStock) – A controversial measure
providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who
came to the United States as children was dealt a death blow in
the U.S. Senate on Friday by Republicans who said it would
reward illegal activity.

The so-called “Dream Act” passed the U.S. House of
Representatives earlier this month, but it failed in the
Senate.

The legislation would provide legal residency to young
people who came to the United States illegally before age 16
and who graduate from high school, complete two years of
college or military service and have no criminal record.

“They believe in their heart of hearts this is home, this
is the only country they have ever known. All they’re asking
for is a chance to serve this nation,” said Democratic Senator
Dick Durbin, the measure’s sponsor.

The measure is backed by President Barack Obama and
Hispanic activists, who have been disappointed by Democrats’
failure to deliver on Obama’s promise of comprehensive
immigration reform.

With dozens of college-age Hispanics watching from the
gallery, the measure failed on a largely party-line vote of 55
to 41. Although it gained a majority, the bill needed to reach
a 60-vote threshold to advance in the Senate.

Republicans said it would make it more difficult to enforce
immigration laws.

“The American people are pleading with Congress to enforce
our laws, but this bill is a law that at its fundamental core
is a reward for illegal activity,” said Republican Senator Jeff
Sessions.

The bill’s failure to pass the Senate means the legislation
dies with the 111th Congress. Supporters will face a steep
uphill battle when the new Congress is seated on Jan. 5 and
Republicans control the House of Representatives and have a
greater say in the Senate.

In his presidential campaign in 2008, Obama pledged to push
for an immigration overhaul, boosting border security and
offering steps to legal status for many of the nearly 11
million illegal immigrants living in the United States. His
administration and Congress have so far failed to agree on
comprehensive measures.

(Reporting by Donna Smith and Andy Sullivan; Editing by
Eric Walsh)

‘Dream Act’ immigration bill blocked in U.S. Senate