LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Passage of the “Dream Act” turned into something of a nightmare Saturday for both of California’s senators.
Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer were among the 55 votes who were unable to break a threatened Republican and conservative filibuster against the “Dream Act.”
Senators Boxer and Feinstein both issued statements lamenting the bill’s failure in the Senate. “I deeply regret that the Senate did not vote to consider the Dream Act,” Feinstein said.
“Many of these children know no other country as their own,” the Feinstein statement read. “And I believe we should give them a chance to succeed.”
Boxer issued a similar statement.
Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa decried the death of what he called a “sensible, pragmatic piece of legislation (that) would have strengthened our economy and infused the talent and skills of hard-working, educated young adults into our country’s workforce and military.
The bill was opposed by conservative senators who viewed it as an unfair reward for people who broke U.S. immigration laws.
Republican senators urged that the United States better-secure its borders with Mexico before changing immigration laws. And they said it was unfair to people who were waiting outside the country for a shot at citizenship to allow illegal aliens to register first.
The act would allow children brought to the United States illegally to register with the government and serve in the military or go to college, and if they stayed out of trouble, get in line to apply for citizenship. Although it will be reintroduced next year, its chances are rated as poor in next year’s Republican-majority House of Representatives.
In Los Angeles, immigration rights advocates said the Senate had made a huge mistake. “Today, democracy lost and politics won,” lamented Angelica Salas, coordinator for the California Dream Network.
“We will strengthen our voter engagement programs and we will focus on 2012,” she said.
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