A Memo by Omar Medina for Politics and Public Policy, Stanford University Dr. Tammy Frisby Mackenzie Israel-Trummel
This policy analysis examines the political factors associated with the Development, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, focusing specifically on the elements of the Congressional vote during the 2010 lame duck session. First, I will provide a brief overview of the DREAM Act’s Congressional path from its inception in 2001 to the vote in 2010, highlighting the role of Congress’ increasingly polarized political trends along the way. Next, I will relate the overriding influence of the rapidly growing Latino electorate’s public opinion on Democratic leaders’ priorities during the lame duck session. I will then explore the political developments that motivated Democratic Party leaders in Congress and the Executive to push the DREAM Act onto the legislative Decision Agenda. Finally, I will discuss the unorthodox legislative procedures employed by Democratic Party leaders as they thrust the DREAM Act toward a Congressional vote amidst an increasingly polarized Congress. Ultimately, the 2010 Congressional vote on the DREAM Act was largely a “Hail Mary” tactic by the Democratic leadership to provide the semblance of action on comprehensive immigration reform, thus attempting to appease a rapidly growing, increasingly frustrated, and ever more influential Latino electorate.
Brief Overview: DREAM Act’s Trajectory
Immigration was and remains a consistent hotbed of political polarization. Often, it seems that immigration discourse is characterized by extremes: many immigrant advocates and special interest groups promote total amnesty while some with more conservative-leaning ideologies argue that complete deportation is the more appropriate way to deal with undocumented individuals who break the law. In 1996, a Republican dominated Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act, part of which discouraged academic institutions from offering undocumented students the option of paying “in-state” tuition. Within this environment of volatile rhetoric and politics, the DREAM Act seemed like a welcome meeting point near an ideological center. The bill targets a sympathetic demographic – young, ambitious people – and promotes aspects of immigration generally perceived as positive: assimilation into American society through higher education, or military service work. With this in mind, the DREAM Act was first introduced in 2001 with generally broad bipartisan support. The bill enjoyed bipartisan sponsors in both Congressional chambers, with Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) leading the way in the Senate. Since 2001, however, the DREAM Act has been introduced periodically over nine years, failing at every instance to become law.
Over this past decade, while immigration has by and large remained a mild concern for the general public in the midst of wars and economic meltdown, American perception of immigration has arguably grown more hostile. Most Americans favor more rigorous and targeted immigration enforcement efforts, as evidenced by a strong majority in favor of Arizona’s SB1070 law. Partly, this is an expected result that correlates with economic uncertainty. Jack Citrin and colleagues find that “anxiety about a nation’s economic downturn does boost opposition to immigration.” The DREAM Act’s general failure, however, is ultimately due to an increasingly polarized and partisan Congress. Hacker and Pierson posit that electoral forces have pushed politicians toward a “race to the base” mentality. Elections and the electoral process, marked by heightened politicization and practices like gerrymandering, have made it so that politicians pander to their congressional district’s ideological bases. As a result, Congress is “more polarized that is has been in a generation.” Pushed to their respective ideological extremes, Hacker and Pierson argue that centrist policies are largely lost under this polarization. Indeed, the DREAM Act may have proved too moderate for this heightened, politicized environment. As a fairly centrist resolution, Republican’s can find leeway to label the bill amnesty while left-leaning politicians can brand the bill a “band-aid” solution to comprehensive immigration reform. Certainly, many Republican sponsors of the DREAM Act faced mounting pressure and criticism from their congressional districts. By 2009 during President Obama’s first year in Office, previously moderate Republican supporters – including Senator Hatch – came out against the DREAM Act, labeling it an amnesty provision. This is the politically precarious atmosphere in which the Democratic Party leadership placed the DREAM Act for a vote during the 2010 Congressional lame duck session.
DREAM Down Payment: Latino Public Opinion and Interest Groups
In his 2008 campaign, President Obama promised to tackle immigration reform within his first year of office. Obama wooed Hispanic voters by promising the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) – the largest organization of its kind in the U.S. – that if elected, immigration reform would be a top priority during his first year. Obama pledged to actively seek a pathway to citizenship for America’s 12 million illegal immigrants. Needless to say, the promise worked. Latino voters wholeheartedly embraced Obama, turning out to vote for the candidate by a 2 to 1 margin. In 2010, after two frustrating years of inaction, Latino citizens grew increasingly impatient. During this time period, Obama’s approval ratings among Hispanics had dropped from 73% to 54%. An aggravated Latino constituency wanted to collect its overdue promises. Congress and the President began to feel mounting pressure from special interest groups and immigration activists the likes of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF). As the only recent immigration initiative with any semblance of bipartisan support, the DREAM Act seemed like the perfect down payment toward fulfilling these unfulfilled promises and placating Latino impatience. Ultimately, the combination of a consistently growing Latino electorate and mobilized Latino special interest groups led Democratic Leadership to acquiesce to Latino public opinion and push for a vote on the DREAM Act.
The importance of the Latino electorate is closely tied to demographic dynamics. Over this last decade alone, the American Hispanic population grew 43% to reach 50 million, officially becoming the second largest group in the United States. In 2008, 19.5 million Latinos were registered to vote, and Latino voters were key in President Barack Obama’s decisive majority in both New Mexico and Indiana. With a 9% share of the national vote in 2008, the Latino population’s substantial potential for electoral sway is undeniable. Though such a pool of electoral votes should make any politician salivate, the Democratic Party has most to lose, with 65% of Latino voters currently considering themselves Democrats. With this in mind, Stanford’s David Brady (2011) notes that Congress is “viewed as a responder to public opinion,” seeking to appease citizens and achieve “slack” with constituents. The question that emerges, then, is not whether the Latino electorate’s opinion was important to Congress in pushing for the DREAM Act – statistics vouch for that – but rather, how public opinion was conveyed.
As special interest organizations, Latino public interest groups presumably advocate on behalf of Latino citizens, thus channeling Latino public opinion. Brady also notes that not all citizens are necessarily involved in a) the formation and b) the communication of public opinion. Groups of elites or intellectuals can serve as the overarching “movers and shakers” of public opinion. In order to classify special interest groups as legitimate representatives of Latino public opinion, it is important to determine how well these groups actually reflect the Latino electorate’s stance on the DREAM Act. A poll by Latino Decisions finds that 47% of Latino registered voters classify immigration as the most important issue facing the Latino community, and an overwhelming 87% support the DREAM Act. Not only is the Latino electorate growing exponentially, but the DREAM Act is also undeniably an issue of great concern for this community at large. Thus, when these organizations fervently advocate for the DREAM Act, they are actively reflecting the voice of the demographic they claim to speak for. Moreover, these organizations have not conducted advocacy from a detached position. Rather, they have actively mobilized the citizenry, notably college students. College students have proven an especially high profile media attraction. Some undocumented college students even “came out” and publically declared their immigration status. Branded DREAMers, these students conducted multiple campaigns, hunger strikes, and even donated blood in hopes of conveying their desperate desire that the Act pass. Such stories of hard working college students striving to become productive members of society serve as great sources sympathy by appealing to the narrative of the American Dream. Indeed, Latino interest groups executed their mobilization efforts very well, granting their movement a public face that further conveyed the urgency of the DREAM Act to Democratic policymakers.
The voice of Latinos channeled through interest groups was not the only relevant opinion at play. There are two sides to the coin of public opinion. Certainly, public opinion was at play when virtually all Republican policymakers, including previously moderate sponsors, condemned the DREAM Act and vowed to withhold their vote in the House, or filibuster in the Senate. Whether as a consequence of heightened elite polarization or party politics, Republican legislators were staunch in their opposition, and public opinion played a large role. Although a very slim majority of Americans polled would vote for the DREAM Act, a 2010 Gallup pole demonstrates that 61% of Republicans are in favor of decreased immigration, and 63% of would vote against the DREAM Act. Brady posits a strong connection between issue salience and policy official’s responsiveness to public opinion. As a highly politically charged issue, immigration is definitely salient on both sides of the political aisle. Although immigration was not highly relevant issue among the majority of the American population in 2010, once the Democrats decided to push the Act for a vote, they effectively ensured a concerted, passionate response by Republican lawmakers. Thus, almost paradoxically, public opinion worked both to spur Democratic push for the DREAM Act and to embolden Republican opposition.
To be sure, there is always a divergence of opinion within politics; this is far from new. But the manner and degree to which policymakers aligned ideologically with their respective constituencies is noteworthy. Erickson and colleagues point out that legislators may in fact go against their own values to follow public opinion. This helps explain why Republicans that supported the DREAM Act at its inception exhibited an ideological switch in 2010. One example is Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Thompson, who previously supported the DREAM Act along with other Republican colleagues. Republican Party leaders made it clear that unless the Senator was looking to retire, a “no” vote on the DREAM Act was the way to go. The reasoning behind this hardline stance is summed up in these words:“ ‘Republican primary voters are some of the most conservative in the country – bar none.’ ” This also supports Erickson’s position that legislators may assess policy choices based on their perceptions of constituents’ “overall degree of liberalism or conservatism.” Without a doubt, such an assessment played an extensively overarching role in Congressional considerations of the DREAM Act in 2010.
One crucial aspect of this time period involved the Congressional midterm elections that loomed in November 2010. Brady posits that the possibility of a large turnover of Congressional seats often moves policy makers to take notice of public opinion. This was certainly true during this particular election season, as multiple Democratic incumbents encountered legitimate challenges to their Congressional seats. For example, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faced formidable opposition from Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle. Just days before the election, in an obvious pander to Latinos, Reid went on Spanish language station Univision to announce that he would push for the DREAM Act during the lame-duck session whether he won the election or not. President Obama conducted a radio interview with the same station, “urging Hispanic voters to turn their frustrations” against Republicans, and vote for Democrats.  As in the 2008 General Elections, Latinos took a chance once more and pinned their hopes on these promises. Having received over 90% of the Nevadan Latino vote, these voters proved key in Reid’s eventual win. To be sure, Latinos were vital in preserving multiple Democratic Senate seats. Though the DREAM passed the House successfully, the bill eventually succumbed to a Senate filibuster. Time will tell whether the Latino electorate grows impatient to the point that it chooses to definitively collect on the promises owed by Democrats.
Agenda Setting: I DREAM of Politics
Cognizant of the imminent 2010 midterm elections, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid publicly announced their intention to drive for passage of the DREAM Act. GOP members chided this push as superfluous in the midst of ailing job growth and economic stagnation. Indeed, Congress could have tackled seemingly much more pressing issues, like the passage of a budget. The idea of a “pressing” issue, however, is relative. Democratic leadership certainly considered to whom the DREAM Act was a critical issue and why, subsequently making a calculated decision to pursue the vote. The midterm elections laid the foundation for a shift in what Kingdon refers to as the political stream. Several Democratic Senators, including the Majority Leader, were facing severe and formidable political competition. Democratic Leadership was quick to recognize that a normally reliable base – the Latino electorate – would play a crucial role in many of these contested races. Only this time, that loyalty was in jeopardy. Failure to deliver on Democratic promises for comprehensive immigration reform resulted in a frustrated and increasingly impatient Latino electorate. Though very unlikely that Latino voters would suddenly shift support toward the GOP, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus were quick to warn President Obama that disillusioned Latinos might protest by simply staying home during midterm elections. Following the elections, it was revealed that a new Republican majority would take over the House upon the new Congressional session. It is highly unlikely that any comprehensive immigration reform legislation would come up for a vote under Republican leadership. Democrats then realized that the Congressional lame duck session would provide a very short policy window for Democrats to demonstrate their commitment to Latinos and immigration reform. As a result, the DREAM Act’s introduction to the decision agenda was primarily driven by political considerations that compelled Democrats to recognize the urgency of passing an immigration-related bill.
In his discussion of policy agenda formation, John W. Kingdon emphasizes the interaction of three “streams” – problem recognition, proposal formation, and political – that periodically meet at critical junctures, driving certain issues to the forefront of policy agendas. Though Kingdon stresses that a perfect storm of all three streams at once increases the likelihood of agenda formation, the problem recognition and political streams are of particular importance, as they alone may be sufficient to open policy windows – or brief time periods when the pursuit of an initiative’s agenda priority is most politically favorable. In the case of the DREAM Act, the need for immigration reform has long been recognized as a problem. One need only consider the Bush administration’s “Border fence” initiative to recognize that immigration was not suddenly placed on the agenda in 2010. Moreover, the DREAM Act was introduced over ten years ago in 2001. Therefore, the stream of problem recognition has long flowed alongside immigration reform, and the DREAM Act has been touted as a legitimate component of comprehensive policy options. The presence of the political stream, however, was substantially amplified in 2010.
Specifically, the midterm elections greatly exacerbated the political stream. Spurred by economic instability and stagnant unemployment rates, the American public expressed deep dissatisfaction with the Congressional status quo, and as the Majority party, Democrats were poised to suffer electoral setbacks. Therefore, by altering the political stream, the elections also exposed the problem recognition stream. In reality, the “problem” was not immigration reform itself, but rather the impending potential for loss of Congressional seats. In turn, this meeting of political and problem recognition streams pointed to a very specific policy window: the time period before the elections. Kingdon relates that policy windows open – often for a very limited amount of time – when changes occur in policy or problem streams (cite). In this case, the elections presented a critical juncture for Democrats with the potential loss of legislative dominance. Thus, Democratic leaders sought a solution to “couple” with their problem, and they found this solution within the DREAM Act.
Kingdon relates that coupling consists of pairing solutions with policy proposals – a process often conducted by policy entrepreneurs. In turn, policy entrepreneurs are individuals with a vested interest in the policy proposal at hand, and “promote a certain position in return of some future gain.” Certainly, Pelosi and Read would receive substantial returns if the Democratic party retained a semblance of power, and their positions as Congressional leaders made them the ideal policy entrepreneurs. As Leaders, both Pelosi and Reid had an unparalleled capacity to place policies on the Congressional decision agenda. Policy entrepreneurs are often the active “joiners of streams,” serving to couple solutions with problems at critical junctures. There is no question that Pelosi and Reid, as Congressional leaders buttressed by Barack Obama’s support from the presidential bully pulpit, utilized their leadership positions, along with the legislative tools and congressional rules at their disposal, to thrust the DREAM Act onto the decision agenda.
As a matter of practicality and strategy, policymakers usually attempt to couple solutions and proposals that will elicit productive results. With this in mind, the Democrats’ decision to user the DREAM Act as an appropriate solution to the their political problem may strike some as counterintuitive. Legislators were facing a slew of problems at the time, including the economy and unemployment. Leading up to the elections, Americans named tax policy the most important issue facing the country, while immigration placing a dismal sixth in priority. But, in reality, the DREAM Act’s placement on the decision agenda was an incredibly strategic move by the Democrats. The DREAM Act presented the ideal solution for the Democrats’ political problem, as the only legislative piece in recent history dealing with immigration and possessing a history of bipartisan support (albeit a distant one). Moreover, the bill had been making the legislative rounds in some form or another for nine years. Kingdon states that is important to have a solution ready to couple with a proposal once a policy window opens up. This is especially important considering the necessity to “strike while the iron is hot” during the limited policy window. After all, the Democrats merely needed to convey their commitment to immigration reform before the midterm elections.
During the midterm elections, Latino voters placed their faith in the Democrats once more by turning out in force, proving key in the re-election of three Democratic Senators – including Majority Leader Reid – and helping sustain a Democratic Majority in the Senate. House Democrats, however, endured substantial losses. A new Republican majority would be sworn in during the next Congressional session. This presented an entirely new change in the political stream in that now, Democrats really had to deliver. Democrats were quick to realize that considering current polarizing trends, any legislation with the slightest connection to comprehensive immigration reform would never see the light under Republican leadership. Furthermore, Democrats recognized that if Latinos were important during the midterm elections, then they would be crucial during the 2012 General Elections. This particular change in the political stream, characterized by a change in the ideological distribution of Congressional seats, presented Democrats with a policy window with new parameters. A vote on the DREAM Act was now imperative for Democrats during the Congressional lame duck session. Notably, the Act’s passage was not necessary for Democrats to achieve their aim. Soon after the midterm election results, Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) – an active face and voice for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and advocates for immigration reform – declared that “Reid deserved Hispanic support for his efforts to pass immigration reform in a hostile environment.” The Democrats merely had to demonstrate their commitment to Latinos by bringing that Act up for a vote, and they achieved this aim by placing the DREAM Act on the Congressional decision agenda.
Unorthodox Lawmaking: Maneuvering in a Hostile Environment
The Congressional lame duck session was marked by a particularly heightened sense of political polarization. For one, Republicans had vowed not to vote on any legislation that did not address taxation and unemployment. Voters had clearly labeled job creation a priority, and immigration discourse itself had turned decidedly negative and nativist in nature, spurred by economic instability and fear. Immigration reform had become a political pariah. Democrats faced a staunchly resolute Republican front that decried the DREAM Act as amnesty in sheep’s clothing, and the Democratic Party itself faced internal fragmentation. Essentially, Democrats were stuck between a rock and a hard place; they were compelled to appease Latino voters within this time frame, but they could only do so while facing enormous opposition and virtually no bipartisan support. To say the least, Democratic leadership had no choice but to resort to creative maneuvering of Congressional procedures in order to bring the DREAM Act up for a vote.
Barbara Sinclair refers to this creative maneuvering as “unorthodox lawmaking” in that the rules and procedures invoked during the legislative process diverge from the traditional trajectory of a bill becoming law. Unorthodox lawmaking has arguably become more common as government’s role in society has grown with time, and legislating has become a slower, more cumbersome process. Though some might say that the Founding Fathers intended the legislative process to be slow and deliberate, the legislature must ultimately “get things done.” Traditional congressional procedures, like conference committees or supermajority requirements, often make “getting things done” a very difficult process. Sinclair notes that certain consensus requirements like the supermajority “increase a status-quo oriented system’s tendency toward gridlock.” This is especially true in cases of heightened partisanship and divided government when compromise is even more difficult to achieve.
For the Democratic leadership, Republican opposition made compromising on the DREAM Act highly unlikely. The House had a narrow Democratic majority that allowed Speaker Pelosi to present the bill for a vote with some confidence during the lame duck session. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) believed that 218 votes in favor of the Act were achievable. The DREAM Act passed the House with a vote of 216 to 198, sending the bill to the Senate for consideration. The Senate, however, presented a much more difficult scenario. Senator Reid utilized the tools available to him as Majority Leader, and attempted to set the decision agenda by introducing four different versions of the DREAM Act. The Senate filibuster made voting the bill into law virtually impossible. This repeated use of the filibuster is noteworthy, as it “signals an era of partisan polarization.” Before the midterm elections, Majority Leader Reid made one attempt at diverting attention from the politicization of immigration by introducing the DREAM Act as a rider along with a Defense Spending Authorization Bill that included the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. The Dream Act’s inclusion in the defense bill was justified by the Pentagon’s support of the Act. Ultimately, Senator Reid was overly ambitious. Republican Senators quickly cried foul, labeling the maneuver a blatantly political tactic to pass an “amnesty” bill. Republicans filibustered, and the Majority Leader could not muster enough votes to invoke cloture and bring the bill to a vote, leaving it to fail. Even still, Senator Reid invoked a special rule that would immediately place the act up for re-consideration when Congress reconvened after the midterm elections.
When the lame-duck Congress reconvened, the Democratic leadership introduced two different versions of the DREAM Act. Senator Reid invoked Senate Rule XIV, allowing him to bypass the bill’s referral to Committee for debate, and placed both versions directly on the legislative agenda for “possible action.” Invoking these special rules and bypassing both committees and hearings seemed to slight Republican Senators. Notably, Senate Rule XIV allowed the DREAM Act to bypass the Judiciary Committee. Republican Committee Member Jeff Sessions (R-Al.) expressed particular resentment at being bypassed, labeling Senator Reid’s tactics “chaotic” and “confused.” Sinclair notes that frequent bypassing of committees is likely to foster hostility among both majority and minority members. As a result, lawmakers are mindful to exhibit restraint on their use of bypasses, except under “extraordinary circumstances.” The fact that Reid pursued the DREAM Act so fervently indicates the magnitude of this vote’s significance for the Democratic Party. However, by slighting and bypassing committees, Reid’s use of unorthodox lawmaking may have served to fuel the Republicans’ already steadfast and stubborn opposition. All amended versions of the DREAM Act ultimately failed to override the filibuster, despite Senator Reid’s multiple attempts. Regardless, Democrats may have reached their goal of submitting an immigration “down payment” by simply attempting pass the DREAM Act. Even though the DREAM Act failed, Democrats made a concerted effort that left Republicans looking like the primary deterrents to immigration reform.
Sinclair highlights the reality that most bills do not become laws, and in many cases, legislators introduce legislation without expecting or desiring that it pass. It is uncertain whether this was the case with the Democrats and the DREAM Act. Republicans labeled the DREAM Act’s placement on the decision agenda a gratuitously political move by Democrats. Democrats were aware of the very slim possibility that the Act would pass in the Senate, as was evidenced by the Republican’s filibuster of the Defense Bill rider. However, even if Democrats knowingly pursued the DREAM Act without seeking to actually make law, the process – including Reid’s unorthodox methods – inevitably spent substantial political capital and resources. This instance may have been a good faith, “hail Mary” effort by the Democrats to pass the seemingly most viable piece of immigration reform legislation available before a turnover of party leadership.
The lame duck Congressional experience with the DREAM Act serves to demonstrate both the pros and cons of unorthodox lawmaking. This experience highlights how unorthodox lawmaking can bring issues to the forefront of Congressional consideration despite intense partisanship and polarization. However, this example also demonstrates how unorthodox lawmaking can stifle discussion and compromise, leading to what can arguably be considered the clumsy and hasty pursuit of lawmaking. Still, unorthodox lawmaking proved vital in allowing Democrats to demonstrate their commitment to Latino voters and immigration reform.
The salience of immigration reform remains highly intact among the Latino electorate. Multiple analyses contend that the 2010 DREAM Act vote will play a role in the 2012 general elections. Janet Murguia, NCLR president, classified the 2010 vote as a Watershed moment for Latinos: “We will remember those who stood with us and those who stood against us.” Time will tell whether the Democrats’ fervent push for the DREAM Act results in significant political and electoral returns. Thought it is likely that the 2010 lame duck vote will suffice a down payment on promises for immigration reform, the time may come when Latino voters demand results over promises and actions. To be sure, if any significant immigration legislation is enacted in the near future, it will most likely be some version of the DREAM Act. After all, the bill fulfills the requirements of what should universally be viewed as useful and good for the United States, regardless of political leanings: education, service, purpose, and the fulfillment of the American DREAM. It is very likely that the political pendulum will have to take a significant swing toward the center, along with a significant alignment of streams and windows, before any such legislation becomes law. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of young, ambitious DREAMers will be left in a state of limbo, waiting for the moment when their dreams become achievable.
 Jack Citrin, Donald P. Green, Christopher Muste, Cara Wong, “Public Opinion Toward Immigration Reform: The Role of Economic Motivations”The Journal of Politics Vol. 59, No. 3 (Aug., 1997), pp. 858-881. Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Southern Political Science Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2998640
 Jacob S. Hacker, Paul Pierson, “Abandoning the Middle: The Bush Tax Cuts and the Limits of Democratic Control,” Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Mar., 2005), pp. 33-53. Published by: American Political Science Association. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3688109
 Ibid, pg. 42.
 William A. Galston and Pietro S. Nivola, “Delineating the Problem.” http://www.brookings.edu/press/books/chapter_1/redandbluenation.pdf
 Hacker and Pierson, pg . 41
 Alexis Spillius, “Barack Obama Woos Hispanic Vote with Promise of Citizenship for 12 million illegal migrants,” 7/8/08. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/2271221/Barack-Obama-woos-Hispanic-vote-with-promise-of-citizenship-for-12m-illegal-migrants.html. Accessed 29 April, 2011.
 Tim Gaynor,“Analysis: DREAM Act failure kills immigration reform hopes,” 12/18/11. http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/12/18/us-usa-immigration-idUSTRE6BH1Q720101218. Accessed 29 April, 2011.
 Nicole Allan, “Harry Reid’s Ultimatum on Immigration Reform, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” 9/14/10. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/09/harry-reids-ultimatum-on-immigration-reform-dont-ask-dont-tell/62959/. Accessed 29 April, 2011.
 Janet Murguia, “The DREAM Act: A Watershed Vote Latinos Will Note Forget,” 12/8/10. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-03-24/us/census.hispanics_1_hispanic-population-illegal-immigration-foreign-born?_s=PM:US, Accessed 29 April, 2011.
 Tom Curry, “Latino population boom will have 2012 echoes,”3/24/2011. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42236057/ns/politics-decision_2012/. Accessed 29 April, 2011.
 Matt Baretto, “Where Latino Votes Will Matter in 2012,” 3/12/2011. http://latinodecisions.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/where-latino-votes-will-matter-in-2012/ Accessed 29 April, 2011
 Matt Baretto, “Republicans face new low, but Dems haven’t capitalized on Latino vote yet,” 9/21/2011. http://latinodecisions.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/republicans-face-new-low/
 David Brady, Public Opinion and Congressional Policy [Draft], Schickler Edited Volume. Pg. 3
 David Brady, Polisci 123: Politics and Public Policy, Lecture Week 4 Lecture 1. Lecture Notes.
 Matt Baretto, “Republicans face new low, but Dems haven’t capitalized on Latino vote yet,” 9/13/11. http://latinodecisions.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/why-the-dream-act-will-matter-in-2012/. Accessed 29 April 2011.
 Author Unknown,“Students donate blood to push Dream Act,” December 13, 2011. http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/12/03/20101203dream-act-students-give-blood.html, Accessed 29 April, 2011.
 Brady, pg. 10.
 Robert S. Erickson, Gerald C. Wright, and John P. McIver, Statehouse Democracy. Cambridge University Press: New York, NY. 1993.
 Brady, pg. 5
 Julianna Hing, “Latino voters save the West for Democrats,” 11/3/11. http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/11/latinos_save_the_west_for_democrats.html. Accessed 29 April, 2011.
 Ashley Southall, “Obama vows to push immigration changes,” 10/25/10. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/25/in-appeal-to-hispanics-obama-promises-to-push-immigration-reform/. Accessed 29 April, 2011.
 Usliberals.about.com, Deborah White “DREAM Act May Vanish if Not Passed in 2010,” August 12, 2010. Accessed April 7, 2011.
 John W. Kingdon, “Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies,” 2nd Edition, pg. 86
 Ibid, pg. 166
 Kingdon, pg. 173.
 Ibid, pg. 179
 Ibid, pg. 179
 Ibid, pg. 184
 Kingdon, pg. 181
 Kingdon, pg. 183
 Barbara Sinclair, Unorthodox Lawmaking: New Legislative Processes in the U.S. Congress, 2nd Edition, CQ Press, 2000.
 Ibid, 232
 Ibid, 121
 Sinclair, pg. 266
 Sinclair, pg. 219
 Ibid, pg. 219
 Ibid, pg. 222
 Janet Murguia.