A measure that would grant a new path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants has stalled in the Senate.
On Dec. 18, the Senate voted 55-41 in a procedural vote on the DREAM Act, falling five votes short of the three-fifths majority needed to advance the bill. The legislation, if approved, would allow eligible children of illegal immigrants to gain American citizenship through a variety of avenues, including the military or college.
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed the legislation by a vote of 216-198. Considering that time is running out in the current lame-duck session and Republicans will gain seats in both chambers of Congress in January, the DREAM Act faces an uphill battle. President Barack Obama said the Senate vote was "incredibly disappointing," but he vowed to continue to back the legislation.
Most Republicans, on the other hand, believe that the DREAM Act would open up the floodgates to more illegal immigrants to pursue citizenship in the future.
"If we pass this amnesty, we will signal to the world that we're not serious about the enforcement of our laws or our borders," said Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), quoted by CNN.
Republicans who voted to advance the bill were Senators Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Five Democrats crossed party lines and voted against the measure.