The Republican Senators voted unanimously on Tuesday to stall a Senate Measure that would allow children of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.
The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act would allow undocumented students under the age of 16 to apply for conditional legal status for a six-year period as long as they completed a certain amount of time in college or serve in the US military. At the end of the six-year period, they could become permanent legal residents if they have a clean criminal record.
The Republican Party portrayed the push for the Dream Act, as a last minute ploy by Democrats to appeal to Latino voters before the November elections. Two Democratic Senators sided with the Republicans. Critics of the Dream Act believe the bill would allow undocumented immigrants a taxpayer subsidized education while foreign students and American students have to pay the full costs of tuition for colleges.
While, the Dream Act is not entirely dead, this vote marks a serious setback and makes it unlikely it will go up for vote again before years end.
The Act was introduced by Democratic Senator Henry Reid (D-Nov) as an amendment to the 726 Billion dollar Defense Bill. On the Senate Floor, Senator Reid held a stack of “heart wrenching letters,” and referred to the Acts supporters as “Dreamers.” Reid is involved in a tight re-election race in Nevada against Republican candidate and Tea Party favorite, Sharron Angle. The Hispanic vote is expected to be key to the outcome of the election.
The decision to wait on a vote for the Dream Act comes days after Barack Obama addressed the Congressional Hispanic Delegation urging latinos to ‘stick with the democratic party’ in the November Elections.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.