As I write, Illinois lawmakers Luis Gutierrez and Dick Durbin are scrambling to get the last minute votes in the their respective chambers for the DREAM Act, which will likely get a vote today.
If passed, the DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens who were brought here as minors, with no say, and whose entire world is defined by the U.S. It would require undocumented aliens who fall under its guidelines to attend college or join the military (the latter a provision with plenty of critics) and, to salve Republicans who call it a blanket amnesty, it would also deny access to healthcare and other benefits of residency for 10 years.
Our new Republican senator, Mark Kirk, who is still fence sitting, may want to remember that he represents Illinois, which likes its Republicans moderate.
For the record, these are the sure yays from our state in the house: Gutierrez, Danny Davis, Jesse Jackson, Bobby Rush, Jan Schakowsky and Mike Quigley.
And the no way Joses: Tim Johnson and Don Manzullo, both Republicans.
But there’s one GOPer leaning this way, John Shimkus.
Across the country, other Republicans are breaking toward support for the DREAM Act, including the entire Latino GOP congressional delegation from Florida, which encompasses all three Cuban-Americans: Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. (It’s so rare when I get to not be feel embarrassed by them; this may be the first time I’m actually proud of them.)
Senator-elect Marco Rubio, not yet seated and thus not voting, is against it.
In Illinois, there are plenty of reps waffling in both parties: Democrats Melissa Bean, Jerry Costello, Debra Halverson, Phil Foster, Bill Hare and Dan Lipinski, who apparently hasn’t seen the projected census numbers on his congressional district for 2020, and Republicans Judy Biggert and Aaron Schock.