This past Saturday, we sat in the Senate gallery along with fellow advocates and hundreds of brave DREAMers from around the country to witness the Senate vote on the DREAM Act. Through tears, we watched the bill fail despite a majority of Senators voting in favor of the bill. The legislation fell five votes short of overcoming a Republican-led filibuster after being passed by the House 216-198 the week prior.

Over the past 10 years, thousands of undocumented youth have led the campaign for the DREAM Act. They have rallied, lobbied, and sacrificed so much for the chance to call the only country they’ve ever known home. For 10 years, many have put their lives on hold and worked side by side with Senator Durbin, Congressman Berman, and other champions in Congress to secure a better future for themselves, their siblings, their friends and our nation as a whole. These young people have shown us what it means to be an American; what it means to fight for fairness and justice.

On the eve of the vote, the National Immigration Law Center and a coalition of civil rights, education, child advocacy, and labor organizations released the “DREAM Act 2010 Yearbook,” featuring the personal stories of undocumented young men and women who would benefit from this legislation. It is these individual stories that were able to reach the hearts of so many Americans from all walks of life over the past year. It is individual stories such as these that inspired the courage of Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Bob Bennett (R-UT) to rise above partisan politics and do the right thing.

A number of the Senators who blocked passage of the DREAM Act have privately admitted that they are sympathetic to the issue and understand the need for the DREAM Act. They know the innocent children caught in the crossfire deserve better than empty rhetoric and broken promises. And yet, they chose to abandon their moral compass, engage in divisive politics and deny hundreds of thousands of youth and children the chance to achieve their dreams.

To the President, Administration officials, 216 members of the House and 55 Senators who stood with our children and showed the courage needed to lead our nation to a brighter future, we thank you. Your dedication and vote will not be forgotten. Rest assured, our work will continue, and the DREAM Act will pass.

The DREAMers who have led this movement have already pledged to continue to fight, and we will continue to fight with them. Their refusal to give up on their dreams means we cannot and will not give up on them. In the words of the late Senator Edward Kennedy – “the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the DREAM shall never die.”