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By Seth Hoy

At a forum yesterday in Washington, D.C., faith, civic, community and Congressional leaders gathered to rally the immigration reform faithful, endorse Sen. Reid’s (D-NV) DREAM Act amendment, announce the introduction of a forthcoming immigration overhaul bill in the U.S. Senate and a meeting with President Obama this week on immigration. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced that he will introduce a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill—one that addresses the nation’s economic and security needs— presumably during the lame duck session while Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) revealed a meeting between herself, President Obama, Sen. Menendez, and Rep. Gutierrez to discuss immigration, deportations and the DREAM Act. The forum also highlighted personal stories from legal permanent residents (LPRs)—military veterans, mothers, families—and the complications of being caught up in a broken immigration system.

In front of a full house at Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) took to the stage and threw his support behind Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid’s (D-NV) recent announcement that he will put the DREAM Act up for a vote when he attaches it as an amendment to a Defense Authorization bill next week. Senator Menendez then made an announcement that he will soon introduce an immigration reform bill in the senate:

I will introduce legislation, not a framework, but legislation in the U.S. Senate, outlining comprehensive immigration reform … to ensure that we secure our country as we all wanted to, that we look at how we deal with the economic needs of our country, but it will also have a pathway toward earned legalization for those who are in the shadows who will be able to come into the full light and observe the dignity that they deserve with what they are helping America to achieve. And so we will pursue that legislation in the Senate and we will create clear basis of what we see. I believe that [CIR] is in the national security interest. I believe that the economy is not a reason to oppose immigration reform, but a reason to have immigration reform. I believe in the dignity of each and every individual and the concept of family values that we hear so often in the senate needs to be preserved. We cannot see families ripped apart.

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), announced a White House meeting tomorrow as well as the CHC’s support for Senator Reid’s DREAM Act efforts, arguing that supporting DREAM Act students is just step one in the CHC’s continuing efforts to secure immigration reform for the Latino community:

If we can protect one part of our community by continuing to fight for our entire community, it is our responsibility to do so. So a call for a vote on the DREAM Act is a sign that things are marching in the right direction. The message for America is that these students will finally be embraced by the only country they know as home and finally be able to contribute to our society and make us a better nation … We will not rest until we get CIR.

Finally, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a long-time immigration advocate and a member of the House Judiciary committee, called on President Obama to throw full White House support behind both the DREAM Act and Sen. Menendez’s forthcoming immigration reform bill.

We need the President to embrace. We need the President to say “Enough!” We need to the President to speak loudly and clearly and decisively that when Sen. Bob Menendez introduces that bill that he is strongly behind and supporting that bill. We will also ask him to use all his power, to use all his influence, to use all his might and to use that bully pulpit of the White House and Presidency to make sure that the DREAM Act has a successful vote next week. We talked to Harry Reid, and he’s moving forward. Tomorrow we talk to President Obama and make sure that Harry Reid has everything he needs in order to be successful next week for the vote on the DREAM Act.

While today’s immigration forum ended in a GOP pray-in (faith leaders literally went to the offices of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and George LeMieux (R-FL) and pray for reform), only time will tell whether Sen. Reid can conjure the 60 votes necessary for cloture on the DREAM Act amendment next week.

Originally posted to ImmigrationPolicyCenter on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 08:49 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Do the Democrats need 60 votes for the dream act? (0+ / 0-)

    Or do they need 60 votes for the Defense appropriation bill?
    Aren't the dream act and "don't ask, don't tell" just add ons.
    Do they need a majority or 60 for those add ons?
    Can someone explain that to us.

    •  Actually... (0+ / 0-)

      Dems need 60 votes for a "motion to proceed" to debate the defense bill, and then 60 votes for cloture on each of the amendments...but it's not that easy either.

      The Senate may dispose of each amendment either by voting on it directly or by voting to table it. The motion to table cannot be debated; and, if the Senate agrees to it, the effect is the same as a vote to defeat the amendment. If the Senate defeats the motion, however, debate on the amendment may resume.

      In our case, there will be voting on each amendment (DREAM;  Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, etc.)

      While an amendment is pending, senators may propose amendments to it (called second-degree amendments) and to the part of the measure the amendment would change. The Senate votes on each of these amendments before it votes on the first-degree amendment (the amendment to the measure). Many additional complications exist.

      When a complete substitute for a measure is pending, for example, senators can propose six or more first- and second-degree amendments to the substitute and the measure before any votes must occur.

      If an amendment is considered under a time limitation, senators may make no motions or points of order, or propose other amendments, until all the time for debating the amendment has been used or yielded back. Sometimes, however, the Senate unanimously consents to lay aside pending amendments temporarily in order to consider another amendment to the measure.

      The amending process continues until the Senate orders the bill engrossed and read a third time, which precludes further amendment. Then the Senate votes on final passage.


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