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Who is to blame for DREAM Act’s defeat?

Marcelo Ballvé | 9/28/2010, 11:42 a.m.

“This talk of amnesty is not only an insult to every American who has come to the United States legally and the millions who wait patiently while playing by the rules,” wrote Bilbray in a blog on the DREAM Act published in The Hill. “But it is in part what makes it possible for the cartels to murder those 72 innocent migrant workers.”

To benefit from the DREAM Act, undocumented immigrant high school graduates must attend college or serve in the military. They also need to have entered the United States at age 15 or younger and prove they’ve resided in the country for five years or more.

In the wake of the DREAM Act’s defeat, it appears that immigration reform of a comprehensive nature faces little margin for passing, even after the midterms. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, a Democrat and the only Latino in the upper house, said he would introduce such legislation in the coming weeks. He may be gambling that post-midterms, senators will again be amenable to deal making.

But it’s more likely that the momentum on immigration legislation will continue to shift to the states, where efforts like Arizona’s crackdown have become part of a widespread effort by state capitols and localities to take immigration matters into their own hands.

That may not necessarily be a bad thing for undocumented immigrant students who hoped to benefit from the DREAM Act.

State legislation can go either way on immigration, even though hard-line measures attract the most attention.

A group called the State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy noted that 10 states have legislation providing in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant college students. And that includes red states like Utah and Texas.

Marcelo Ballvé is a New America Media news analyst.