This past Saturday The DREAM Act failed to pass a procedural cloture vote 55-41. While most of the votes against moving forward to actually debate and vote on DREAM were Republicans, there were Democrats who also voted against the DREAM Act including Montana Sen. Jon Tester, who called DREAM, “amnesty”. Other Democrats who helped the DREAM Act die in this Senate session are Ben Nelson, NE; Max Baucus, MT; Mark Pryor, AK and Kay Hagan, SC. There were, on the upside, some Republicans who voted for the DREAM Act. Those were Bennett (UT), Lugar (IN), and Murkowski (Alaska).
Let the Finger-Pointing Begin
As mentioned above, Democratic senators blamed the Republican Senators, especially ones who supported DREAM in the past, senators like Sen. Orrin G. Hatch. President Obama blames the GOP. Most pro-immigrant orgs have released statements blaming the Republicans. A handful of bloggers have noted that had the 5 Democrats mentioned above voted yes, the 60 votes mark would have been reached. There is discussion about if the White House pushed hard enough and if progressive organizations outside the immigration and Latinosphere did enough.
Let’s be real, there were/are some who declared the DREAM dead even before this last Senate cloture vote. There were some who felt that the vote was a useless show. The DREAMers are heartbroken and angry and the big question for them is where they go from here as individuals and in the wider movement(s). Even before this last failed vote, Congressman Luis Gutierrez announced pressing Obama to sign a moratorium on detentions and deportations. There is some indication that some DREAMers may push for something like this as well with a focus on those like them, those brought hto the U.S. as children. There are some calls for the renewal of movement towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Legislatively speaking, DREAM and anything remotely looking like CIR doesn’t seem likely. The CIR plans that came out over the last few years, pushed by Democrats were laden with pre-enforcement efforts. Imagine what CIR proposals with a Republican Congress would look like?
Some have set there eyes into the future, 2012, promising to vote out those who didn’t vote for them but in the meantime what?
I am not an undocumented immigrant. I am not an immigrant. My stake and my decision making power is not important here. What is important is working in the streets and in our communities to make sure that the lives of immigrants are protected. I fully expect things to get harder before they get easier. So the challenge I put out there for myself and for others, is what will people do to make sure that immigrant communities and the families within then are protected, educated and healthy? I am not talking policy. Policy will not, can not, and does not save our lives. We will, we can, and we have to.