Amidst the celebration from progressives over repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, many missed the regrettable news that the DREAM Act failed to get 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster. That point is worth repeating. The DREAM Act did have the support of a majority (55) of Senators but it did not have the super majority necessary to end Republican obstructionism. Just one member of the Grand Old Party -- Alaska's Lisa Murkowski -- voted for the sensible legislation to give immigrant youth an avenue to earn citizenship via college or the military.
Joining in the filibuster brigade was Illinois' junior senator, Mark Kirk (who has received attention for his "gloating" and "grandstanding" during the lame duck session). The most recent in an unprecedented list of filibusters has Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who sponsored the DREAM Act and has been fighting for the bill with everything he's got, railing against the Republican use of the manuever. Appearing on Fox News this weekend, Durbin said, "It's a clear abuse of what was supposed to be a rarely used procedural option. ... We need to put an end to secret holds in the United States Senate. That's archaic, it's wrong, we need more transparency."
Durbin isn't the only one to use strong language to criticize the Republican caucus. Josh Hoyt, the executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights called the filibuster of the DREAM Act "a disgraceful display of partisan gamesmanship." He added:
In addition Sen. Kirk and his colleagues cheapened our American Democracy today. A Democracy is not real when it prevents some 12 million illegal workers who contribute with their toil in our fields, our restaurants, and our hotels from having any way at all of becoming legal. We cannot say we live in a great Democracy when we tell children that we will punish them with exclusion and condemn them to the margins because of the decisions of their parents. This is un-Democratic. It is also an attack on the deepest call of our faith to love and charity, which is why the leaders of Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish and Muslim faiths were united in support of the DREAM Act.