SALT LAKE CITY -- Senate Republicans blocked a bill this weekend that would eventually allow legal status for many children of illegal immigrants.
The so-called DREAM Act appears dead for now. The showdown vote revealed an interesting difference between Utah's two Republican senators.
In one of his last votes, outgoing Sen. Bob Bennett voted in favor of the DREAM Act.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, who expects a tough fight for reelection two years from now, sat this one out and didn't vote, even though he was one of the DREAM Act's original sponsors.
They still have to remain in the shadows, unfortunately. They still live with fear of getting deported every day and being separated from their families.
Supporters of the DREAM Act had a majority -- 55 votes -- but they needed 60 to stop Republicans from filibustering.
The bill would have allowed children of illegal immigrants to gain legal status if they're in college or serve in the military.
Daniel Argueta of the Salt Lake Dream Team support group said many undocumented students shed tears after the Senate showdown.
"They still have to remain in the shadows, unfortunately," he said. "They still live with fear of getting deported every day and being separated from their families."
I think Hatch originally supported the DREAM Act and I think he's heard it from his constituents that they do not support it here in Utah, the majority of the people.
–Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem
State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, applauded the outcome. "We cannot reward illegal behavior," he said.
Sandstrom remains committed to his bill requiring a law-enforcement crackdown on illegal immigrants.
"Even though it may be kids that were brought here by their parents, to me there has to be consequence for their actions," he said.
Argueta disagrees. "They're students that have lived here since they were four or five years old," he said. "If they're deported back to their country, they're being deported to someplace they don't know."
Argueta noted the contrast in Utah's two senators -- Hatch and Bennett.
"It's less about politics now with Bennett and it's more about doing what is right," he said. "With Sen. Hatch, unfortunately it hasn't worked out that way. He is still battling to stay in power."
Sandstrom said the priority is to secure the borders. If the children are given a legal break before then, it will just attract more illegals.
"I think Hatch originally supported the DREAM Act and I think he's heard it from his constituents that they do not support it here in Utah, the majority of the people," he said.
Argueta says the DREAM Act does appear dead for now, but the dream itself is not dead and the fight will go on.