Cantwell Disappointed by Blockage of DREAM Act; Measure Offered Path to Citizenship for Immigrants Who Serve in Military, Attend College

DREAM Act falls victim to partisanship; lost opportunity for America's future competitiveness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement after the Senate failed to advance the DREAM Act this session of Congress in a 55-41 vote. Cantwell is a cosponsor of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2009). The bill would provide undocumented immigrants with a pathway to legal residency provided they complete two years of college or two years of U.S. military service. The DREAM Act passed the House on December 8th in a bipartisan 216 to 198 vote.
“I am extremely disappointed that the DREAM Act fell short today because of opposition by Republican senators, including several who had previously expressed support for the bill. Clearly partisan politics, not a sense of what is right and fair for this country, held sway today. The DREAM Act was originally co-authored by Republicans, and it is strongly backed by educators and the U.S. military. The DREAM Act is a sound starting place toward comprehensive immigration reform that works to strengthen America’s economy, knowledge base, and our armed forces.
“The DREAM Act offers a chance to earn legal status for individuals who were brought to this country as children without legal documentation at no fault of their own. The bill would help students such as Alonso Chehade, who took a wrong turn on an interstate highway and was detained after unintentionally crossing into Canada. Brought to the United States from Peru by his parents when he was 14, Chehade graduated with honors from high school in Washington state and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. His future remains uncertain if Congress fails to pass this bill.
“The individuals who earn legal status through the DREAM Act will make our country more competitive economically, contributing to our tax base and spurring job creation. I will continue fighting for this sensible reform so we can give young people like Alonso a chance to remain in the United States and give back to the American communities in which they were raised.”
For more information on the DREAM Act, click here to see a one-page summary.