This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to legislation allowing children (who were not born in the U.S.) of illegal immigrants to remain in the country legally.
Under the bill (which was known as the DREAM Act), such individuals must have arrived in the U.S. before the age of 15 and have lived in the United States for at least five years. They must also have been 29 or younger at the time of this bill’s enactment. The bill also required that they finish high school and undergo a medical examination.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bill: “The young people covered under this bill are the children any parent would be proud of--our sons and daughters, our neighbors, our classmates, prom kings and queens, football players, and cheerleaders--who stayed in school, played by the rules, graduated, worked hard, and stayed out of trouble. They are the children of our great nation.”
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) argued that the underlying bill amounted to amnesty for illegal immigrants: “I don't think there is anyone on our side of the aisle who isn't empathetic to the fact that the youth brought to America as children did not come here illegally of their own accord. I certainly feel that way. However, the majority of immigrants come to America because of what our nation stands for, which is rooted in our foundation--the cornerstone being our rule of law. In order to maintain our liberties and freedom, Congress must always respect and preserve the rule of law. We must exercise our principles in fairness, not inequity; and I would argue that amnesty is not fairness but a direct assault on the rule of law.”
The House agreed to this resolution by a vote of 211-208. 211 Democrats – including a majority of progressives – voted “yea.” All 171 Republicans present and 37 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation allowing children (who were not born in the U.S.) of illegal immigrants to remain in the country legally.