Last night, Senator Harry Reid filed cloture on the DREAM Act (in addition to a stand-alone repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)), which sets the stage for a cloture vote on DREAM Saturday morning. If the Senate musters the 60 votes needed to proceed to the bill (cloture), it will then have up to thirty hours of debate before turning to a vote on DREAM itself. If the Senate passes the same version of the bill (H.R. 6497) that passed in the House last week, the bill could go directly to the President’s desk for his signature. By considering the House version, the Senate avoids the need to reconcile another version of the bill.
The DREAM Act offers undocumented students—who were brought to the U.S. as children—the opportunity to gain legal status after completing two years of college or military service, in addition to other requirements. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that 755,000 of the 1.9 million eligible unauthorized immigrants would likely satisfy the DREAM Act’s post-secondary or military requirements and obtain legal permanent status.
Speculation on the likelihood of passing DREAM aside, no one can deny the outpouring of support from DREAM activists, White House, faith leaders, business leaders, academics, leading economists, the administration (including the military, DHS, DOJ, Departments of Commerce and Education) and even conservative voices will give wavering Senators a lot to consider tomorrow.