After the November elections, the United States Congress entered into what is referred to as a “lame-duck” session. It is referred to as a lame-duck session because many of the members of Congress are finishing the remainder of their terms only to be replaced by new lawmakers in January. Usually, very little gets accomplished in a lame-duck session.
However, this so-called lame-duck session proved to be very active on many fronts. Congress passed a tax compromise, repealed the “Don’t ask don’t tell policy” in the armed forces, and ratified a new strategic arms treaty with Russia. Nevertheless, Congress did fall short of passing the DREAM Act.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would have created a pathway for legalizing many undocumented immigrants. It would have given legal status to immigrants who arrived in the United States before turning 16, lived in the U.S. continuously for at least five years, and who either join the armed forces or go to college.
The Migration Policy Institute says the act would have given legal residency to more than 700,000 young people in the United States. The department of education estimates that 50,000 or more undocumented immigrants, who are eligible for college, graduate each year.
The DREAM Act passed in the House of Representatives, but failed to pass the Senate when the act’s supporters failed to muster enough votes to end debate and call for a vote on the act. The President and members of Congress do believe that immigration reform is an important priority. Unfortunately, reform will have to wait until next year.
Fox News: “DREAM Act Failure “Biggest Disappointment” of the Year,” 12/23/2010
CBS News: “Obama: My “Biggest Disappointment” is Not Passing DREAM Act,” Stephanie Condon, 12/22/2010