Sen. Dick Durbin

The Senate today voted down the DREAM Act, a controversial measure that would have paved the way to legal status for thousands of young illegal aliens if they attend college or join the military.

The measure, which was rushed through the Senate just months after the failure of President Bush’s comprehensive immigration plan, fell eight votes short of the 60 it needed to proceed.

The DREAM Act, which stands for “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act,” would allow illegals who graduate from high school to attain legal status if they complete two years of college or serve at least two years in the military.

In heated Senate debate, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., called the measure a “slap in the face to all of those who came in legally.”

The original sponsor of the bill, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., argued children of illegals shouldn’t be punished for the sins of their parents.

Durbin made adjustments to try to get the bill passed, including setting an age limit of 30 and eliminating a plan to grant in-state tuition.

Opponents of the bill accused lawmakers of trying to sneak the bill under the public radar after fierce grass-roots opposition helped sink the comprehensive plan promoted by Bush and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.

“In many ways this bill is worse than Bush-Kennedy because this is blatant deception on the part of the Senate to get a massive amnesty passed,” asserted Steve Elliott, president of

The group Numbers USA warned in an alert to constituents that “Reid is hell-bent on getting this amnesty through the Senate as fast as possible and before we can fully mobilize the country as happened when we defeated his Comprehensive Amnesty bill in June.”

An estimated 12-20 million illegal aliens are already in the U.S., but Numbers USA argued the legislation would “entice millions more people to become illegal aliens here.”

Further, the plan includes “no extra enforcement” to provide any stability or security to national borders, the group said.

As WND reported, Durbin brought up the DREAM Act after Bush’s comprehensive plan died in June.

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Previous commentary:

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