Senate Denies Rights of Gays in Military & Undocumented Students

Yesterday, the US Senate failed to override a Republican filibuster and reach the 60 votes needed to push forward the DREAM Act, which would have provided permanent residency status to undocumented youth who were brought into the country before the age of 16 and have completed 2 years of college or military service. The DREAM Act was tacked onto the 2010 Defense Authorization Bill as an amendment, because it would have allowed thousands of new recruits to join the military.

The DREAM Act has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support (including from former General and Secretary of State Colin Powell), and would let young people who were brought into the United States by a family member own embark on a path toward citizenship and the American dream.

Youth like the four Miami-Dade College students (two of which are a gay couple) who courageously outed their immigration status and walked from Miami to Washington DC in a 1,500 mile “Trail of Dreams”, in support of the DREAM Act and humane immigration reform. Youth like the over 230,000 undocumented Korean students in the US.

Trail of Dreams Walk

Additionally, the Defense Authorization Bill contained language to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the law that bans openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military. The bill also proposed to increase pay for military service-members and provide them with additional protections on the battlefield.

Army Lt. and Iraq War veteran Dan Choi

The blocking of the bill does nothing to help solve our country’s challenges along the immigration, economic, gay equality, or human rights fronts — and hypocritically denies the contributions undocumented students and LGBTQs have made in all sectors of society, as other citizens continue to benefit from them.

Immigrants and Latinos are the fastest-growing bloc of voters in the US, and preventing this legislation is in direct opposition to the interests of Congress’ constituents.  Hold your elected officials accountable. For a full list of Repubes and Dems who voted against the DREAM Act (or didn’t even bother to vote) go here. And urge your representatives to create another opportunity for a public debate on the merits of the DREAM Act and elimination of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. You can call Senator Harry Reid and ask him to re-introduce the DREAM Act as a stand-alone bill at 202 224 3542 (anti-immigrant groups are calling to stop the bill right now).

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