Los Angeles activists demand clean Dream Act as Senate rejects proposals

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As lawmakers on both sides of the aisle stand behind proposals to protect young undocumented immigrants, many at the heart of the debate outlined the type of bill they've rallied for and support.

"We have all been extremely clear from the beginning on what we want and what we deserve for our immigrant families and communities, and that was a clean Dream Act, and it still remains a clean Dream Act," said Melody Klingenfuss, a DACA recipient and member of the California Dream Network.

Immigrant rights advocates say a clean Dream Act includes a pathway to citizenship, family sponsorship, no disruption to the diversity visa lottery and no border wall.

"We have to make sure that something is passed but something that doesn't hurt our communities," said another DACA recipient.

The Senate voted on four immigration proposals Thursday, including two that provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Those proposals both fell short of the 60 votes needed.

"I thought our friends across the aisle would jump at this opportunity to fulfill what they say is their top priority," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

Sen. Kamala Harris voted against a bipartisan bill that could help Dreamers but offered $25 billion for the border wall, saying she could not support it in good conscience. Sen. Dianne Feinstein voted for it but called it flawed and not what she would have drafted. It fell six votes short.

Immigrant rights advocates, meanwhile, asked Congress to listen to the young people directly impacted.

"What they've been clearly saying for months and months and years on the issue of the Dream Act is that, 'focus on a positive solution, one that underscores our values,'" said Apolonio Morales, political director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.
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