Immigration Prospects Brighter for Young DREAMers

Members of United We Dream, an immigrant youth-led organization, wear caps and gowns and hold their fists in the air on the steps of the Senate to call for immigration reform on Tuesday. The group also tried to hold up signs on the steps, but Capitol Police prohibited it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Young backers of a sweeping immigration overhaul brought a palpable optimism with them to Washington on Tuesday. It was a far cry from the scene almost three years ago when the long-sought DREAM Act fell short in a lame-duck Senate session.

At that December 2010 vote, DREAMers were brought to tears watching the failure of a measure to create a path to citizenship for them if they attended college or joined the U.S. military. The young immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children wore caps and gowns that day, and they donned the same graduation regalia as they made their way to Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning. This time though, the mood was markedly more upbeat, with DREAMers already given a reprieve from deportation by President Barack Obama last year. And walking from Union Station, the young immigrants could be heard chanting, “We are the dreamers, the mighty, mighty dreamers.” Obama, for his part, welcomed DREAMer Tolu Olubunmi to an East Room immigration event at the White House. Introducing the president, Olubunmi said she was “hopeful and humbled.”