The House of Representatives voted to pass the DREAM Act on Wednesday night, but 38 Democrats bucked their party leadership and voted against the bill.
The DREAM Act has been a divisive issue in Washington, pitting Obama and the Hispanic Congressional leadership, which tout the bill as an education initiative, against critics in both the Republican and Democratic parties who view the measure largely as a disguised amnesty.
While all three GOP Latino Representatives voted for the measure, 38 Democratic Legislators voted against the measure. Many of these hail from states not known to be Latino or immigrant hubs.
The DREAM Act now goes to the Senate which is expected to vote on the measure next week. Victory in the Senate is likely to be more difficult as Republican Senators have threatened a filibuster.
DREAM Act supporters, including many undocumented youth activists, are urging seven Republicans in the U.S. Senate who in the past have supported the measure to do so again now, during the lame-duck session.
If passed in the Senate, the DREAM Act will give hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. before the age of 16, who have been in the country for five years and graduated from high school or gained a GED. They would have a chance to gain legal status if they joined the military or attended college.