Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, expressed profound disappointment that long-awaited Senate action on the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act” was thwarted today in a procedural vote by Senate Republicans. Not a single Republican senator voted to open debate on the “Department of Defense Authorization Act of 2011” (S. 3454), which contained the “DREAM Act” as an amendment.
“For years, we have fought for this long overdue day. We have seen an overwhelming outpouring of support for the ‘DREAM Act’ from business, military, religious, civil rights, and immigrant organizations and education leaders from throughout the country, as well as incredible leadership from young students. The ‘DREAM Act’ earned the right to be discussed on its merits before the Senate. We are deeply frustrated that Senate Republicans did not see it fit to give the legislation that opportunity,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.
“While we await progress on comprehensive immigration reform, the very least we can do is give these remarkable young people the opportunity to contribute all they can to our country’s well-being, to its defense, and its future,” Murguía continued.
The “DREAM Act” would allow young members of our society—who were brought here as children through no decision of their own, have grown up in our country, demonstrated good character, and excelled academically—to earn legal residence by serving in the military or completing two years of college. The measure was endorsed by the fiscal year 2010–2012 Strategic Plan for the Department of Defense’s Office of the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness to help the military “shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.”
“Today, more than a dozen so-called supporters of the ‘DREAM Act’ chose to use a procedural maneuver to avoid an up-or-down vote on the legislation, keeping the lives of young people in legal limbo. Some senators might think that they can flip-flop on this issue or hide behind such Washington-speak as ‘I support it but I won’t vote for it.’ They should be advised that the Hispanic community will not stop its push for the ‘DREAM Act’ and broader immigration reform, and the rapidly growing number of Latino voters will remember this vote in November,” Murguía concluded.