PLAYING Scrooge at Christmas is heart-wrenching and this is what the United States Senate did when it squelched a bill granting legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant students, including Filipinos across the U.S.

The bill, which was labeled the DREAM Act, an acronym for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, would have allowed undocumented kids obtain green cards, go to college or join the military, and paved the way for eventual citizenship.

But partisan politics shattered that dream, hopefully, not for good.

The bill needed 60 votes for floor debate, but the tally fell short of five votes, as five Democrats broke ranks and voted against their party’s position which supports the measure, while only three Republicans voted with the majority.

The House earlier narrowly approved the bill, 216 to 198.

Voting was also along party line.

Republicans will be in the majority when Congress convenes next year.

The 55-41 vote also dampened President Barack Obama’s effort to open a path to citizenship to at least 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S. who have been living in the shadow for many years.

Obama had reason to be disappointed and to expect more rough sailing for his administration’s master plan to fix a broken immigration system.

Like advocates of the DREAM Act, the White House had banked on having this initiative to have an easier chance through Congress because it is not likened to a backdoor amnesty that is attached to the alien legalization proposal of the Obama Administration.

But the Republican victory in the midterm elections changed this equation drastically.

With a new Congress in January, any immigration reform is dead in the water.

Republicans are known to favor strict enforcement of immigration laws, including mass deportations of aliens with criminal records, tougher border patrol and workplace monitoring.

What happens now to thousands of students who have come out openly to reveal that they do not have legal status, will they be rounded up and summarily deported?

To the new Congress:

Welcome those who yearn to serve this nation with dignity, ability and honest labor.

To do so is in America’s interest.

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