he year opened with hope still afloat for meaningful changes in immigra- tion law, though the challenges the
Obama administration still faced at that time with the health care reform bill and other priorities portended a rough road ahead. Continued concerns about unem- ployment and the economy made advanc- ing immigration reform more challenging. In the spring, several Democratic Senators released a framework for comprehensive reform, but by mid-year it was clear that no Republican was willing to partner and that real reform was not happening. In the spring, senators McCain and Kyl proposed a 10-point border security plan and later in the summer introduced a bill that included $700 million in border funding.
Te two most significant legislative events of the year were the passage of a $600 mil- lion border bill in August and the fight for the DREAM Act. Te border spending bill included funding for more patrol agents, infrastructure, and technology as well as funding for interior enforcement. Very trou- bling was that the bill was funded partly by increasing fees on H-1B and L-1 visas. Later
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Watch AILA President David Leopold speak from the U.S. Capitol immediately following the Senate’s failed vote on the DREAM Act.
in December, AILA was involved in oppos- ing more immigration fee increases to fund the 9/11 “responders bill”.
By late summer, momentum was building for the DREAM Act and AILA members sent more than 5,000 e-mails and calls in support of DREAM—go AILA grassroots! On December 8, the House passed a com- promise version of DREAM on a vote of 216-198—a major victory! Ten days later, AILA President David Leopold accompa-
nied by AILA staff watched from the Capi- tol building as the Senate voted 55-41 for DREAM—a clear and powerful majority but not enough to overcome the supermajority that was required in the Senate.
For the AILA Advocacy Department, the big changes were the addition of Gregory Chen and Alexsa Alonzo to the staff replac- ing vacancies from the year before.
AILA’S ADVOCACY ACTIVITIES INCLUDED: • High-level engagement with Congres- sional offices, the Administration, and coalition partners on immigration policy and strategies for reform.
• Working in coalition with allies across the political spectrum to advance AILA’s legislative priorities on policy, legislative and grassroots fronts.
• Updated policy and legal analysis, in- cluding the Solutions manual, AILA’s 2010 guide to immigration reform and web-broadcasts on key immigration votes, like the DREAM Act.