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When the Dream Act died, dozens of immigrants wearing graduation mortarboards watched from the Visitor's Gallery of the U.S. Senate, their glum faces betraying their deep disappointment.
In other immigrant-heavy communities, like Los Angeles, immigrants watched in dismay as the Senate proceedings unfolded and the Dream Act went down on a procedural vote.
An effort that would have given hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status if they enrolled in college or joined the military was doomed when Republicans refused to let it come to the floor for a vote. The final tally was 5541 in favor, a majority, but five votes short of the required two-thirds margin.
The immigrant students were not alone in their disappointment. The legislation long has been a top priority of the American Association of Community Colleges and its members. The colleges educate significant and growing numbers of those who would have benefited from the DREAM Act.
The vote, the AACC said in a statement, "while not surprising, is highly disappointing for community colleges nonetheless, particularly because the House of Representatives passed the bill for the first time earlier this month. AACC will continue to push Congress to pass this important legislation."
The setback was a deflating capstone on a roller-coaster year for community colleges, which saw their status greatly enhanced during 2010, becoming an essential part of the national conversation about education. But …