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The Senate voted Thursday to delay a vote on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — a measure that aims to grant citizenship to immigrants who are not legal residents.

Currently, undocumented immigrants violate civil laws by entering the country illegally or overstaying their visa limits. The DREAM Act — which passed in the House of Representatives Wednesday — would allow these individuals to attend college and join the military.

College junior Ollin Venegas said he was “pretty disappointed” by the decision to table the vote.

“I think it’s really important that the DREAM Act gets passed during the lame-duck session,” he said, adding that “right now, the Democrats have [a majority] in both houses so it’s our best chance of getting it passed.”

Many Republican politicians, he observed, are reluctant to pass the DREAM Act because they are waiting for more comprehensive immigration reform.

“Our window of opportunity just got smaller,” said Venegas, who is the former Vice President of MEChA — Penn’s Chicano cultural group.

Wharton sophomore and Latino Coalition Chairman Angel Contrera, however, remains optimistic.

“When [the Democrats] decide to go ahead, hopefully they will have the necessary votes to pass it through Congress,” he added.

Student activists at Penn have been making calls to senators and representatives throughout the country urging them to support the legislation, according to College junior and Asian Pacific Student Coalition Chairman Nicky Singh.

Singh added that while the DREAM Act is often framed as “a Latino issue,” it also pertains to Asian-Americans and other minorities.

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