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DREAM Act In Limbo, Undocumented UT Students Bummed

Image courtesy Kevin Dooley

Texas has a large share of students with no legal immigration status in the US. Many of them come to this country with their parents, and grow up learning English and assimilating to American culture. The Texas Comptroller estimated that about 3 percent of students are undocumented immigrants.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was supposed to give a conditional path to citizenship to people who entered the US illegally when they were under 16 and have lived here for at least five years. The conditions were that they get a college degree or serve in the military for at least two years, all the while passing criminal background checks.

Critics say the bill rewards illegal behavior by offering amnesty to undocumented immigrants. Proponents, including President Obama, were urging Congress to pass the bill before the political makeup of the legislature shifts when more Republicans are sworn in next month.

CNN is reporting that Senate Democrats realized they don't have the 60 votes they need to pass the bill, and pulled it from a vote this afternoon.

While supporters say the measure that passed the House on Wednesday could still come up, each passing day reduces the likelihood for introducing and debating the act as legislative leaders battle over priorities in the waning days of the session.

That comes as disappointing news to these undocumented University of Texas students who announced their illegal status last month as part of a nationwide campaign to push for passage of the measure.

Both Texas Senators, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, oppose the DREAM Act.  The Dallas Morning News says Hutchison voted in favor of the bill in 2007, but no longer supports the legislation in its current version.

"I will not support the Dream Act legislation brought before the Senate because it expands the scope of the bill beyond the intended individuals who were brought here as children and grew up and were educated in the United States," Hutchison said Wednesday.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.