The hundreds of young immigrant activists who traveled to Washington to press for the passage of the Dream Act during the December 2010 lame duck session embraced each other as they watched the final vote, 55 in favor to 41 opposed (four senators did not vote). Although the bill received a majority vote in the Senate, and passed the House of Representatives, it failed because 60 votes were required to move it forward.

The Dream Act, which has been introduced in Congress for the past 11 years, would allow undocumented youths under the age of 16 who have resided in the United States for five years to be placed on a path to permanent residency and citizenship if they attended college or joined the military and had not engaged in criminal activity. The bill would benefit 1.9 million youths, many of whom arrived in the United States when they were very young and have no connection to their birth country. Youths dealt with this latest defeat initially with anguish but later with renewed determination to continue their advocacy as Senators Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., re-introduced the bill, S 952 in May 2011.

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