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DREAM Act: Moment of Truth for Senate Republicans this Saturday

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No More Excuses

Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate will vote on the DREAM Act Saturday morning.  Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put the DREAM Act on the Senate floor and filed cloture on the bill, setting up a Saturday vote that will determine whether the DREAM Act becomes law this year, and whether thousands of bright and talented young people who grew up in America can get on a path to legal status and achieve their dreams. 

For months, Republican Senators have been trying to avoid this moment, offering up excuse after excuse about why now is not the right time to vote on the DREAM Act.  Now, the moment of truth is here, and they will need to decide if they stand on the side of these young leaders and the broader Latino community , or on the side of a small but vocal band of nativists and their darker view of America.  

Today, America’s Voice is releasing a new report dissecting some of the most popular excuses Republican Senators have offered as reasons to oppose DREAM.  These include gems like:

  • “The DREAM Act can’t pass, and the Democrats are playing politics by bringing it up.”

  • “The DREAM Act requirements are too broad.”

  • “We should address DREAM only as part of comprehensive immigration reform.”

The new report ticks through the actual facts and exposes why these Republican excuses to oppose DREAM are just that: excuses. 

For example, the DREAM Act did pass the House on a bipartisan basis.  It has the potential to pass the Senate if Republican senators would stop playing politics with young people’s lives.  And the DREAM Act is not a broad program.  It has been further limited with the goal of securing Republican votes.  Finally, while we all agree comprehensive immigration reform is needed, it was Republican senators who blocked comprehensive reform earlier this year.  Surely, no one can seriously argue that talented young people who had no role in the decision to come to this country should be held hostage to partisan paralysis on broader immigration reform.     

The fact is, the DREAM Act has long been a bipartisan bill and is supported by voters across party lines.  Fifteen current Republican senators have voted for the DREAM Act on its own or as part of comprehensive immigration reform over the past seven years.  The bill was originally drafted by conservative Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), along with current champion Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL).  Currently, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Bob Bennett (R-UT) have already indicated that they plan to support the DREAM Act, and a majority of Democrats are on record supporting the bill.  Last week, the House passed its version of the legislation with support from eight Republicans.  The only thing standing in the way of the DREAM Act becoming law is a handful of Republican votes in the Senate.   

“Here’s a little tip for Republicans – voters are tired of the endless excuses,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.  “The DREAM Act is good for the economy, good for the military, and good for young people with a dream.  There’s nowhere left to hide.  On Saturday, everyone will know where each and every Senator stands on the fate of these talented young people.”

Sharry added, “The moment of truth is here.  The only way to find out if we have the 60 votes needed in the Senate is to put the bill on the floor and have every Senator search his or her conscience before casting that vote.  It’s worth recalling that when the vote was called in the House of Representatives most predicted we would fall short, and we won by a margin of 20 votes.  In the Senate, the Republican leadership has been trying to delay and derail a vote on DREAM since September.  They even tried to argue that taking votes during the Christmas season was sacrilegious!  They don’t want to vote because they know, as does each and every Senator, that millions of Latinos will be watching the vote on Saturday, and they will remember who stood with the community’s best and brightest, and who stood against them.”

Moment of Truth is Here: Republican Senators Have Run Out of Excuses to Obstruct DREAM:  http://americasvoiceonline.org/Excuses

Quotes from Conservatives who Support the DREAM Act: http://americasvoiceonline.org/GOPdreamQuotes

Quotes from Anti-Immigrant House Members: http://americasvoiceonline.org/UglyQuotes

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.