The DREAM may come to pass, but CIR seems to have vanished

While the DREAM Act may still have a second chance, it seems comprehensive immigration reform has been shelved.

The election is just around the corner and some political pundits think the Senate may take another crack at the DREAM Act before they bail out and hit the hustings. In fact, it appears that some politicos are actually campaigning on the strength of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act; legislation that would offer residential status to specific students who came to the U.S. illegally.

While many thought this act would have been passed long before now, as it does not carry the same impact and drama as comprehensive immigration reform, it has instead languished in the voting circles in the Senate. Officially, it came within four votes of being a done deal (with the total needed being 60) to carry on forward in the Senate.

No one is quite sure what happened to those four votes, but the speculation is that this split will carry out to the campaign trail and quite possibly affect the passage of the DREAM Act in the future, simply because given the unprecedented hostility over CIR and health care reform, the government may not look the same when the election is done.

There is still a window of opportunity for the DREAM Act to pass before the chamber breaks for the fall election in November. There is a provision in the Senate that lets a bill be brought to the floor with two days notice, and this may happen at any time. Will it happen in relation to the DREAM Act? It could, but there seem to be a few other things getting in the way at the moment; like the scramble for support to make sure those currently in power are re-elected to carry on with the changes needed by the country as a whole.

But immigration is not just about the DREAM Act. The U.S. needs comprehensive immigration reform, which for the most part seems to have vanished. It certainly will not be passed this close to an election, but will it be passed when the politicians return? That will largely depend on the makeup of the House and Senate after the dust settles. In the meantime, the DREAM Act is seen as a hopeful precursor to the grand finale of a successful Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act being passed – sometime or other.

Sadly, if CIR does not make it into reality, into law, there is every reason to think that the whole process will start all over again. What a shameful waste of taxpayer’s time and money and a devastating blow to those who need immigration reform the most.

Sally Odell — Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit