FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2010
Francisco Lopez, Executive Director: (503) 269-5694
Erik Sorensen, Communications Director: (503) 488-0263
Obstructionists halt progress for America's Immigrant Youth
Bill containing DREAM Act Amendment stalls in the U.S. Senate
Salem, Ore.--Today, a vote was taken in the U.S. Senate on the "Motion to Proceed" with debate on the Defense Authorization Bill. The bill includes an amendment (DREAM Act) that would ensure undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children have the chance to apply for legal status, provided they graduate from high school or obtain a GED and complete two years of college or military service. The "Motion to Proceed" failed to make the required 60 votes. (56 voted in favor and 43 voted opposed.)
Today's vote exposes the cynical, united partisan nature of the Republican Party -- willing to block progress on a bill not only vital to our national security, but provides a vehicle for other important measures like the DREAM Act. There is no doubt where Republicans stand on the future of promising immigrant youth and immigration reform. Their messages of "need not apply" and "you're not welcome" to Latinos and other immigrants was loud and clear.
CAUSA praises Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley for voting "Yes" on the "motion to proceed" with debate on the Department of Defense Authorization bill. We also praise Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) for having the political courage to introduce the DREAM Act as part of the bill.
Over the last week, CAUSA has been hard at work putting calls into Senate offices. Nationwide, immigration reform advocates created more than 70 events in 26 states, and generated over 50,000 calls and 90,000 faxes to Senators on the DREAM Act. The Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign reports that there were over 140,000 constituent contacts with Senators just in the last six days.
Although the bill did not have the votes to proceed to debate today, it will likely come up again after the November election during the "lame duck session". With 70 percent of Americans supporting passage of the DREAM Act, it may come up sooner. Senator Reid said on the floor following today's vote that "We will vote on the DREAM Act--the only question is when."
CAUSA and our allies around Oregon and nationwide are dedicated to seeing this legislation through and urge Senator Reid not to delay.
"We will continue pushing forward in this fight for justice for immigrant youth", said Francisco Lopez, CAUSA's Executive Director. "And will not stop until we have achieved passage of the DREAM act, AgJOBS, and Comprehensive Immigration Reform".
CAUSA, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Coalition, is a member of the Reform Immigration FOR America coalition and is the largest Latino and Latina civil and human rights and advocacy organization in the Pacific Northwest. We work to defend and advance immigrant rights through coordination with local, state, and national coalitions and allies. For more information, visit www.causaoregon.org