Despite no significant legislative advances concerning immigration during his first two years in office, and an upcoming legislative session with a Republican majority in the House and increased Republican presence in the Senate, President Obama told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he will continue to push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2011, reports Politico. Though the gesture was welcomed by caucus members, it remains uncertain whether Obama will find similar support in his own party given that many new, incoming legislators are veering to the right politically and pushing for more typically conservative initiatives like increased border control and enforcement. The President’s pledge came shortly after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act), which would have provided six years of conditional permanent residency to certain undocumented minors who have completed high school and then join the military or attend college for at least two years, failed to garner sufficient Senate votes to overcome a Republican filibuster.
On September 21, 2010, a cloture motion on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (S. 3454) fell four votes shy of the 60 required to advance the measure in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) intended to include the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) (S. 729) as an amendment to the bill. Also included in the defense bill was a provision to repeal the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
The DREAM Act is supported by President Obama, various business groups and the AFL-CIO. The Act would provide six years of conditional permanent residency to certain undocumented minors who have completed high school and go on to join the military or attend college for at least two years.
All Republican senators—save for Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who did not vote—voted against the motion. Two Democrats, Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-NE) and Mark Pryor (D-NV), also cast votes against the motion. As a procedural safeguard, Senator Reid cast a “no” vote in order to retain the right to bring the motion up for vote again.