The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Earls (202) 261-2388

Memo to Jeb Bush: Unfortunately, Republicans Killed DREAM Act in 2010

Despite Attempts at Revisionist History, DREAM Act Would Be Law Today if Not for Republican Opposition and Latino Voters Know It


The issue of immigration is a hot topic in Florida due to the contentious Spanish-language ad wars between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, interviews on Spanish language TV with the top GOP contenders, and the upcoming Hispanic Leadership Network forum hosted by, among others, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Gov. Bush has long called on the GOP to chart a different course on immigration than the current, enforcement-only party line. Recently, he renewed that call and said that he disagreed with Romney's stance on the immigration issue. But today, Gov. Bush engaged in a brazen, hyper-partisan example of revisionist history that we could not let go unchallenged. In a written statement reported on by the Miami Herald, Gov. Bush said that "Democrats have failed to deliver comprehensive reform." He also singled out the failure of the DREAM Act in 2010, and laid the blame squarely at the feet of Democrats.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "It's the height of disingenuous, revisionist history to attempt to lay the failure of comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act at the feet of Democrats. Republicans in the House refused to negotiate with the Senate to pass immigration reform in 2006, and Republicans in the Senate walked away from the President's immigration reform bill in 2007. With regard to the DREAM Act, it was the Democrats who made the time to debate the bill in a crowded lame duck session, and supplied 96% of the votes in favor of the bill across both chambers.

"The DREAM vote occurred after the mid-term elections, when members of both parties had a clear opportunity to set aside partisan politics and do the right thing for talented young people who really are Americans in all but paperwork. The DREAM Act would be law today if a few more Republican senators had supported it. Latino voters know it, and they're tired of the blame game and excuses from the GOP on immigration."

Here are the facts on the DREAM Act vote in December 2010:

  • In the U.S. House of Representatives, the DREAM Act passed by a 216-198 margin
    • House Republicans voted against the DREAM Act by a 160-8 vote margin
    • House Democrats voted for the DREAM Act by a 208-38 vote margin
    • 96% of the votes for DREAM were cast by Democrats
    • 4% of the votes for DREAM were cast by Republicans

  • The DREAM Act also won majority support in the Senate, but it failed to win the 60 votes needed to end the Republican filibuster on the measure and the bill died. The final vote tally was 55-41
    • Republican Senators voted against the DREAM Act by a 36-3 vote margin
    • Democratic Senators voted for the DREAM Act by a 52-5 margin (with 1 Democratic senator not voting)
    • 95% of the votes for DREAM were cast by Democrats (including Independents who caucus with the Democrats)
    • 5% of the votes for DREAM were cast by Republicans
    • 10 sitting Republican Senators who had voted for some version of the DREAM Act in the past opposed the bill in 2010

New polling released today by Latino Decisions and conducted on behalf of ABC News and Univision may show why Gov. Bush and other Republicans want to blur the distinctions between the parties on issues related to the DREAM Act. Among other relevant findings, the poll found that nationwide, 85% of Latino voters support the DREAM Act. Fifty-four percent of Latino voters "say opposition to the DREAM Act would make them less likely to support a candidate," while 68% say that a candidate's support for passing the DREAM Act would make them more likely to support him or her.

Concluded Sharry, "I'll never forget that awful Saturday in December when Republican Senators turned their backs on the hopes and dreams of millions of talented immigrant youth. The DREAM Act had passed the House, and was just a few votes shy of becoming law. Unfortunately for Governor Bush, I know that millions of Latino voters remember that day too--the Senate vote was broadcast live on the nation's top two Spanish language television networks, and was reported on by all the major news outlets. Apparently, even leaders like Jeb Bush need to realize that Latino voters know the score on immigration. Republicans can't run from their rhetoric, or their record."

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.