When did the first ancestor of Jeff Sessions immigrate to America and from where? Did he or she have proper documentation?
Who was the first Hatch in America? Did he arrive on the Mayflower before the United States existed, fleeing religious oppression in 17th century England? Or did he come later, an adventurer coming across porous borders, looking for land and opportunity or maybe to escape debtors prison or the gallows?
We refer to Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Orrin Hatch of Utah, two Republicans in the U.S. Senate who led the wrong-headed opposition to the DREAM Act.
Hatch is particularly disappointing. He was an original co-author of the DREAM Act when it was first introduced in 2001 and has argued eloquently in its favor over the years. His reversal, perhaps, is an indication that he fears a primary challenge on his right flank in 2012.
Five Democrats -- Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus from Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas -- also joined 36 Republicans to kill the DREAM Act. With their votes, it would have passed.
The proposal, defeated in a procedural vote over the weekend, embodies the very essence of what it is to be an American. After all, ours is a nation of immigrants. The measure would have provided a path to citizenship for children who were brought to this country illegally by their parents before their 16th birthday, in many cases as infants. These are residents of our country who have no meaningful connection with any other country. They have been raised and educated here.
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