After coming so close, the dreams of many children died with the DREAM Act on Saturday. This bill offered approximately 1.2 million individuals mostly children living in the U.S. the chance to obtain lawful status by graduating from college or proudly serving in the military. This would have benefited our economy by several billion dollars, both directly from fees but in a much larger part from the additional GDP growth from educated and lawfully employed workers.
Unfortunately, the Senate chose to ignore the pleas of the children and advice of economists and did not reach the required 60 votes to invoke cloture and proceed to debate on the immigration DREAM Act.
3 Republicans actually crossed the aisle and voted for this bill. However, 5 Democrats decided to vote against the DREAM Act (and 1 was absent) which meant the measure ended up 5 votes short.
As both the House and Senate will shift towards the Republican party next year, the chance of a similar bill offering a future for immigrant children who grew up without lawful status looks grim.
Nevertheless, hopefully the strong support shown for the DREAM Act will plant the seeds for other immigration reform measures. The Obama administration must learn from its predecessors and realize it has other measures to help resolve our immigration problems without Congress including executive orders, administrative rule-making, and policy directives.