Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced today he plans to bring the DREAM Act to the floor again today so it will be “poised and ready to be called” as a standalone bill or an amendment. That’s not to say it will happen soon, though. Durbin said it might not be possible to pass the act for some undocumented students and military service members to gain legal status until a lame duck session or even the next session of Congress.

“We’re not giving up,” he told DREAM Act supporters at an event organized by Campus Progress. “This is not the end of the fight, it’s just the beginning.”

Durbin has been a longtime champion of the DREAM Act, and said yesterday’s Republican filibuster of the defense authorization bill (the DREAM Act was a planned amendment) was “a sad moment.” It showed the DREAM Act does not have enough votes to pass, he said, but this could change if voters and student activists continue to pressure senators.

Asked whether senators could pass the DREAM Act in a lame duck system, Durbin said he was trying to be optimistic. “Some members of the Senate who are not going to return may vote in our favor,” he said. “I hope that’s the case.”

If not, Durbin said he would continue to push for the DREAM Act next year. He said a number of Republican senators might be more likely to support the DREAM Act on its own, and some have told him next year will be a better year for immigration reform. “I’m going to hold them to that,” he said.

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