Senate Republicans Block DREAM Act for Illegal Immigrants

Bill would have given path to legalization for thousands of illegal immigrants.

ByABC News
December 18, 2010, 10:45 AM

Dec. 18, 2010— -- Senate Republicans today blocked a controversial immigration measure that would have provided a conditional path to legal residency for hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants first brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.

By a vote of 55 to 41, the bill -- the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act -- failed to win the 60 votes needed to break a GOP filibuster, even though the measure passed the House last week.

The defeat was the second for the legislation since 2007, when it last was brought to the Senate floor. Opponents have argued that the bill amounted to an "amnesty" that could cost taxpayers and encourage continued illegal immigration.

"We are declaring a 10-year victory," said Roy Beck, president of Numbers USA, an advocacy group that has lobbied against the DREAM Act. "Since 2001, there has been an attempt to pass giant amnesties every year. And we have been on defense, we have fought every single year. And now there's not going to be any amnesty in this new Congress. It's over."

Supporters of the DREAM Act had said it would bring out of the shadows a fraction of the country's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who have known only the United States as home, enhance military recruitment and give American employers access to a talented and highly-motivated pool of young workers.

Only immigrants younger than 30 who entered the United States before age 16, have lived here five years without a serious criminal offense, graduated high school or earned a GED and attend college or join the military among other requirements, would be eligible for legal residency.