The Dream Act dominated the conversation at the Somos el Futuro conference in Albany this weekend. The Dream Act, which allows undocumented students to tap state resources in order to attend college, failed in the State Senate this past week. State house reporter Zack fink has the story.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- If the dream act is temporarily dead, you certainly wouldn't know it from talking to this crowd.
"We still have hope that we can get this in the state budget. We believe that all the leadership should come back to the table to discuss this before we have a full vote. And we are still hopeful that that can happen," said Assemblymember Marcos Crespo, (D) – Bronx.
On Monday, the Dream Act failed in a dramatic last minute vote on the state senate floor, falling just two votes shy. The bill had passed the assembly earlier this year.
While some believe the senate vote killed the Dream Act's chances for passage in the near future, many Latino lawmakers are pushing Cuomo to include it in the budget which is due April 1.
"I think that the Dream Act is not dead at all. I think that the dream is still alive. If we cannot get it in the budget we will push to make sure it comes to the floor once again," said Assemblymember Francisco Moya, (D) – Queens.
Some believe a vote, even a failed one, helps build momentum for a cause people strongly support.
"I know a thing of two about losing important votes. I just lost one on sexual assault in the military. But with every failed vote, what is does is build momentum for the next vote," said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who would need to push for the Dream Act during private negotiations in order to get it in the budget, opted to hold a private reception for Somos attendees rather than speak at a public event.
"The governor invited us to the mansion. He did that with the black caucus as well," said Assemblymember Feliz Ortiz, (D) – Brooklyn.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, did show up for Somos this weekend, just like he did for the San Juan event back in November, something the governor also skipped.
"Let's not fool ourselves, Somos is mainly a little left of center, and that's ok. I'm coming here and I'm telling people I want to work with you. We may not agree on everything, but I want to work with you," Astorino said.
"Privately, lawmakers concede that the dream act is unlikely to end up in the budget. That said, the final budget is still more than a week away, and anything can happen. There is certainly a belief that even if it doesn't happen right away, the Dream Act is inevitable in New York State.