The Senate today is expected to take a procedural vote on the DREAM Act, an immigration measure that would help foreign-born young people gain a chance at earning legal status by joining the military or entering college. Republicans are likely to filibuster the measure, which many in the GOP have called "amnesty."
The House passed the legislation last night by a vote of 216 to 198, with eight Republicans joining Democrats to support the bill and more than three dozen Democrats voting against it.
If Senate Democrats want to overcome a Republican filibuster and advance the bill, at least 60 senators would need to vote in favor of starting debate on it this morning. The measure would help hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16. It would also help Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fulfill his promise to Latino voters to take up immigration reform this year.
President Obama yesterday praised the measure's success in the House.
"This vote is not only the right thing to do for a group of talented young people who seek to serve a country they know as their own by continuing their education or serving in the military, but it is the right thing for the United States of America," he said. "We are enriched by their talents and the success of their efforts will contribute to our nation's success and security."
The president also pointed out the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found the DREAM Act would cut the deficit by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years.
Republicans have nevertheless voiced serious concerns over the bill.
"Americans want Congress to end the lawlessness," Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said on the Senate floor this week. "But this bill would have us surrender to it."
The DREAM Act has floated through Congress for years, but its chances for passage don't look any better in the future. Once Republicans take over the House next year and strengthen their ranks in the Senate, there is little chance for any kind of immigration reform.
Watch Gaby Pacheco, a 25-year-old advocate for the DREAM Act, talk about the bill on "Washington Unplugged":
Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.