DREAM Act dies, Georgia spits on its grave

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It comes as no surprise that the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act died in the Senate last week. The bill, which would give minors brought into the United States illegally an opportunity to earn legal residency here via college or military service, has been introduced multiple times over the last decade and has yet to meet with any real success. Given the nation's decidedly hostile attitude toward illegal immigrants these days – even those who aren't here of their own volition, children brought here by their parents – it didn't seem likely that the bill would even get much play this session, much less make it to the floor for a vote.

Yet it did, tacked onto the ass end of a $726 billion defense-spending bill, along with a bill that would repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The bill(s) needed 60 votes to pass; the package failed with a vote of 56-43.

As the Senate was deciding the fate of the DREAM Act and its companion legislations last week, the state of Georgia considered a proposal that'd make it even harder for the children of illegal immigrants in that state to improve their lots in life.

A committee appointed by the state's university system suggested that the state ban all undocumented residents from attending state colleges and universities that don't have enough room to accept all of the academically qualified legal residents who apply. Georgia legislators then decided they wanted to take that proposal a step further: State Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, says the legislature is going to present a bill that'll bar any undocumented students from attending any state university or college at all, even if they pay full out-of-state tuition to attend. This despite the fact that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not mandate that states deny undocumented students entry to college. And the fact that Georgia colleges reported that the really don't have that many undocumented students anyway: Of some 310,000 students enrolled in Georgia state schools, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution, only 501 are undocumented.

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