Last night, I sat in the House gallery surrounded by young student leaders and advocates as the House of Representatives took a historical bipartisan vote to pass the DREAM Act, bringing hundreds of thousands of youth one step closer to making their dreams a reality. Nonetheless, even amidst tears and hugs of celebration, we all immediately focused our attention to the battle that lies ahead in the Senate.

Earlier this morning, the Senate voted on a “Motion to Table” the DREAM Act which essentially shelved the (cloture) vote on the Senate version of the bill; a strategic decision to buy time to build more support for the legislation. By tabling the cloture vote, Senate leadership will now be able to bring the House-passed version of the DREAM Act up for a vote when other issues have been addressed, such as the tax cuts and appropriations. There has been some misinformation out there today—the DREAM Act is not dead! This decision was actually necessary to ensure that a later vote on the DREAM Act is a victorious one.

So how does the House DREAM (HR 6497) differ from the Senate DREAM (S 3992)? The main difference is that the House version includes additional fees for the conditional non-immigrant status application, and also has two five year periods of conditional status rather than one single ten-year period. The House DREAM also has stricter background check guidelines and further limits DREAM Act beneficiaries access to certain student loans for purposes of higher education. While these changes are unfortunate, the House’s bill still provides an incredible opportunity for undocumented youth who otherwise would be forced to live in the shadows.

The vote for the Senate DREAM is likely to happen early next week. Thus, we need our partners and allies around the country more than ever to make sure that our Senators, especially the Republican ones, take a vote for kids by voting for the DREAM Act. In the 24 hours leading up to the House vote, the coalition of advocacy groups our grassroots affiliate First Focus Campaign for Children has partnered with was able to generate over 35,000 supporting calls to Congress. We need to make sure voices heard once again in the Senate next week to get the DREAM Act to the finish line.