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Republicans block youth immigration bill | News

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Republicans block youth immigration bill
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An Arkansas Democrat has helped block an effort that would've given thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status if they enrolled in college or joined the military. Related THV Story

Sponsors of the "Dream Act" fell five votes short of the 60 they needed to break through largely GOP opposition and win its enactment before Republicans take over the House and narrow Democrats' majority in the Senate next month.

Five Democrats, including Arkansas' Mark Pryor, joined 36 Republicans in defeating the measure.

The House passed the bill last week. It was a last-ditch effort to enact it before it Republicans take control of the House from Democrats in January.

Immigrant advocates viewed the measure as a step toward providing a path to legal status for up to 12 million illegal immigrants by focusing on the most sympathetic among them first. Critics called it a back-door grant of amnesty that would encourage more illegal immigration.

President Barack Obama says it is "incredibly disappointing" that Senate Republicans blocked a bill to grant some illegal immigrants a chance to gain legal status.

In a statement, Obama says the DREAM Act is the right thing to do for the county, and important for economic competitiveness, military readiness and law enforcement efforts. He says there was "simply no reason" not to pass the legislation.

The measure fell five votes short of the 60 needed to move forward Saturday. The bill would allow illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children a chance to gain legal status if they enroll in college or join the military.

Critics called the measure a back-door grant of amnesty that would encourage more illegal immigration.

Students look to 2012 after immigration bill vote 

A group of Los Angeles college students plans to take their fight for immigration rights to the states and the 2012 election after Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have given thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status.

But it won't be easy.

Immigration experts say Saturday's vote to nix the proposal dealt a harsh blow to activists who will have an even steeper uphill battle in the next Congress.

Illegal immigrant students say they will push for access to financial aid and drivers' licenses in states like California.

Critics of the bill called it a backdoor grant of amnesty.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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