Democratic Congressman Jared Polis issued a statement yesterday expressing his disappointment about Congress's failure to pass two important bills: the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the passage of the DREAM act, which would have opened a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who serve in the military or attend college.
"Today America was dealt a double blow. I am disappointed to see that despite the concerted efforts of the Administration and House of Representatives, the Senate was unable to end this dishonorable law that requires members of our military to lie to their commanding officers. . . The Senate’s failure also marked another wasted opportunity to reform our broken immigration system. The failure to pass the DREAM Act—for the 5th straight Congress—is indicative of how extremists have hijacked the debate surrounding immigration."
The first openly gay member elected to the House as a freshman, Polis has worked hard to protect the rights of the LGBT community.
The push to repeal DADT has gained traction this year. In February, Pentagon officials expressed their support for overturning the policy. Earlier this month, a federal judge in California ruled that DADT violated gay and lesbian servicemembers' rights to free expression and due process. Yesterday's vote was 56-43, with all Republicans against proceeding to vote on the repeal of DADT; Arkansas Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor joined the Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also voted no for procedural reasons: as the Senate leader, if he votes with the majority he can reopen the vote at a later time. Polis expressed faith that legal precedent could still result in DADT's repeal: "As Congress has failed to act, it is now up to the President to uphold his promise to end DADT by not appealing California Federal District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’ recent ruling.”
The DREAM act's passage would have opened a 6-year conditional path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants: requirements for citizenship would include the immigrant obtain a college degree or serve two years in the military. Like the DADT repeal, the DREAM act vote was filibustered.