In voting to reject the proposed immigration reform bill today, the Senate effectively killed any chance of meaningful reform until 2009.

The Senate drove a stake today through President Bush’s plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

The bill’s supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

As I wrote on TalkLeft today, I’m glad. I want the next bill to provide more protections and fewer sanctions for the undocumented among us.

Am I really in the minority? When I read the news coverage, it seems dominated by those in the Lou Dobbs and Tom Tancredo school of exclusion and punishment.

Surely there must be people out there who believe as I do that we all came here from somewhere else and America has benefited over the centuries from our presence. Isn’t there anyone who still feels a patriotic shiver when reading Emma Lazarus’ words on the Statue of Liberty?

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

If so, let us hear from you. If not, tell us why.