September 21st, 2010
11:44 AM ET

Student's 'DREAM,' last hope rests on Senate vote

Yahaira Carrillo and other students take part in news conference promoting the Dream Act.

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would be introducing the DREAM Act and a “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal as amendments to the defense authorization bill it sent shockwaves through political and immigration circles. Before those two additions can be voted on, the Senate must agree to close debate on the larger defense bill - something that may not happen.

GOP senators, in addition to frustrations with the possible “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, also dislike Reid's plan to add the DREAM act, an immigration-related provision to the defense bill.

The DREAM Act would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children. Under the bill, an individual would have to be of “good moral character” and either receive a college degree or complete at least two years of U.S. military service. Yahaira Carrillo is a college student who, while in high school, participated in Jr. ROTC, while dreaming of becoming a United States Marine.

“I wanted to be in uniform,” she told CNN, but she quit ROTC when a Captain-classmate warned that her undocumented status would bar her from joining the Marines.

The 25-year-old college senior is currently in deportation proceedings, but if the Dream Act became law she could earn U.S. citizenship.

“This is where I want to be.” Carrillo told CNN’s Dick Uliano. “I want to be here. I don’t want to be anywhere else.”

Listen to Carillo's story here:

Or you can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports' podcast on iTunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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Filed under: Harry Reid • Immigration • Politics
soundoff (456 Responses)
  1. IsNot

    I don't see where age 35 is anywhere in the bill. It was a random age tossed out and the Baggers ran away with the idea.

    September 22, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gary

    I was once an illegal immigrant, my mother had no choice but to move here with my brother and I after our father died. My brother and I excelled in school and sports both becoming Division I prospects in football and track and being top 10% in our class. Yet we had to take the biggest risk of all: we went back to Mexico and applied for student visas, our future was put in jeopardy, but we were tired of living in fear of being illegal. To this day I thank the Lord that we were accepted and now live legally in this great country, but the experience was not one we want other deserving students to pass through. I say yes to the idea of the Dream Act but I am more than aware that some changes need to be made. As I see it now the Dream Act is just a hidden Amnesty, to prevent it from being such some simple changes could be made such as decrease the age from 35 to 25, require the termination of a Bachelor's degree at a four year university, not allow any people who have commited past felonies to apply and cancel any tempoary residence if one is commited, decrease the starting age from 15 to 10, and to apply and keep the status one must adhere to certain academic parameters so as to only allow those students that can truly prove of use and benefit to this country become a part of this society. This act should not have such lame requirements, if people want to become a part of this amazing nation then they must prove they can be of benefit. And wish me luck as my student visa expires soon and I am traveling back to Mexico to apply for my permanent residence so I can continue my American Dream which was made possible because me and my brother worked our butts off in the weight room, the field, the classroom, we proved we deserve to be here and so should anyone who wishes to join this Blessed country.

    October 6, 2010 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. edla

    These illegal students NEED TO GO, they went far into the system, they falsified information such as citizenship to get in, they are well aware of it, these are criminals. They took legitimate people's spots.

    Also before they leave, whether willingfully or deporation, they, and-or their parents, must be forced to pay all education costs (about 10K per year per kid) back to taxpayers, millions and millions of dollars

    December 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neutral&Peaceful

      what about the kids that didnt even know how to walk? did they know they were taking someones "spot"...right.. read my name before any other comments.

      December 8, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Neutral&Peaceful

    I hope they pass the dream act. those kids need a little hope in their lives. I'm not SELFISH.

    December 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. IEK

    Allowing children who were brought to this country a path to citizenship via the military seems like it's Defense related to me.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. IEK

    Who should have been guarding the border? The troops in Iraq or the ones in Afghanistan?

    September 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. IEK

    This bill targets illegal aliens who were brought here by parents. If I rob a bank with my child in the car, does that make my child an accomplice?

    September 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Christian

    Love that accomplice argument. If the main complaint is that you've earned a handout that these immigrants haven't, that's just bogus. The only people who qualify are those who have served the united states in the military, or have gotten a degree so they can work here in the middle class. These people cannot pay taxes on their income until they are citizens. If your complaint is that they aren't coming here legally, I advise you to look at the state department website sometime. Its next to impossible for a latino to be american, no matter how bad they want to.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Todd

    DREAM allows anybody from 15 to 35 simply SAY they were brought here as children. No Proof required. This will open the flood gates. Who is going to pay for the college – the American Taxpayer – again. This is once again just wrong. Our immigration system is not broken our immigration ENFORCEMENT is broken.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brad

    Bernice, it's not about rewarding a criminal – it's about the fact that you're DREAMING if you think we're going to round up millions of illegals and send 'em all back where they came from. Of course we need to seal up the borders, but can't we talk like adults about what can realistically be done with the illegals already here?

    College and military service – if you insist on comparing it to criminals – is more akin to probation than a reward. It's about rehabilitating someone's status to bring them into accordance with the law, and it does so without crowding our jails or going through the great effort and expense of deporting millions of MOSTLY law abiding people.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. IEK

    Actually, it would require that they graduated from a US High School, so no someone in their 30's can't just hop the border and say "hey I've been here all along". And illegal aliens aren't eligible for Federal Student loans, so they'll likely have to pay for their degrees with private loans, not at the tax payer's expense.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Christian

    That's bs. The bill specifically forbids use of pell grants. The money will have to come from loans for most of them. They will pay this money back with interest. Don't let those "pundits" lie to you. Learn and think for yourself. Ask yourself what else they've led you to believe.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Legal_deprived

    we recently moved in to very nice neighborhood with purchase of our new home.
    We are paying very high taxes but shocked to learn that my son can't get school admission because he is on the wait-list for district funded preschool program (which are already on cost cutting spree, so I don’t have HOPE he can get in. ) and so we decided for private school admission ( Not that we can afford it but to fulfill HIS AMERICAN DREAM.) Does your dream comes at the cost of OURS ?

    September 21, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    to all the people who hate dream act bill. Get the hell over it. It is going to happen. There are thousands of people who are working at odds job even with higher education. Some people are stupid enough to think this is amnesty are brainwashed by the media. This is not an amnesty bill people. These people need support not insults. We are in America the land of free. People. Let there be justice and pass the dream act bill

    September 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jessica

    you really need to read the bill so you know what your talking about. i dont think they know their just trying to pass it so they dont have to hear everbodys thoughts

    September 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
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