The fate of the DACA program now sits in the hands of Congress, again. The foundation of DACA began as a bipartisan effort in 2001, when Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) first introduced the Dream Act. Over the next 16 years, the Dream Act would face reintroduction after reintroduction, amendment after amendment, and in 2010 come a few votes short of passage. With President Trump's rescinding of the DACA program, we explored the bipartisan efforts already underway in Congress to see through the passage of a new Dream Act.
On July 26, 2017, Rep. Roybal-Allard and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen introduced the Dream Act of 2017. As of yesterday, the bill has garnered 138 cosponsors including 136 Democrats and 2 Republicans -- Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Coffman (R-CO-6). Roybal-Allard and Ros-Lehtinen have been serving together in the House for 25 years. In that time, Roybal-Allard has cosponsored 6 of Ros-Lehtinen’s bills and Ros-Lehtinen has cosponsored 3 of Roybal-Allard’s. The Dream Act of 2017 is the first bill they’ve cosponsored together since 2013.
It should come as no surprise that Sen. Durbin is yet again championing the Dream Act in the Senate. As Graham noted in a July press conference introducing their new bill, Durbin is the “great-grandfather of the Dream Act.” During their 15 years together in the Senate, Durbin and Graham have each cosponsored 11 of one another’s bills. The Dream Act of 2017 will be the third bill this session they’ve cosponsored together.
After passing the House on December 8th, 2010, the Dream Act failed to reach the 60-vote threshold necessary to end debate in the Senate. 104 Republicans and 8 Democrats serving in the 115th Congress voted against the bill in 2010 and 8 members missed the vote including Senator Hatch (the original sponsor of the Dream Act in 2001).