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. James

    I for one do not agree with the dream act. It is stupid to attach it to the defense bill. Harry Reid should use his brains and not try to buy votes from nthe hispanic community. This will only encourage people to come here illegally and stay here using this as an anchor. I am glad this bill did not go through. I hope congress and the senate pass a better version of the defense bill and secure the borders, not encourage more people to come here illegally and also change the ethnic balance of the country. Look at Europe and the UK, Thay are fighting to get rid of unwanted immigrants who are there illegaly and also who do not assimilate. The US too better do that otherwise this country will be like hell like Europe is now getting to be. US please learn from Europe

    September 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Swamprattler

    do it legally, no exceptions. I hope the dream fails, illegal kids do not deserve any more breaks.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Asian

    I'm from India with a US Master's Degree from a top university and have been waiting for my Green Card for the last 8 years since there is an annual country limit which only affects Indians and Chinese.

    I spent 100,000 dollars to study here and then applied for work visa and now waiting for Green Card.........and ILLEGALS want all this in one shot without doing anything.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kate

    So we know they are illegal, why are they not being arrested. Who allowed illegals to be able to protest in our country anyway. If they don't like our laws get out, ....America one flag...the American flag. Oh I see, if we don't like a specific law it's ok to break it. Why didn't you say so! Is this what you are teaching your kids Obozo? Send them back where they came from and lets straighten our house before we open any borders.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kate

    I want to know who votes for this law, I will not be voting for them!

    September 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. devil

    Failed!! AWESOME.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. David S

    Granting non Roman Soldiers citizenship was one of the events that happen just before the Roman Empire fell.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. boozintheblender

    FYI, bill doesn't require college years, just high school degree or GED equivalent (note GED equivalent incredibly easy to get)....not political affiliation from me just the facts. The fact is many people now have the incentive to get GED, then get citizenship. So yes the guy whose 35 can get citizenship even if he never originally went to high school he just has to earn his GED. Doesn't necessarily make the bill bad though, the military was full of Irish, Italian and other immigrants for years and some of the immigrant units were the most gallant in U.S history (i.e Irish Brigade in the civil war). If someone does that time fighting they deserve to be here end of story.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Swamprattler

    Obozo is pushing this, so remember in Nov. to reward your congressmen/women accordingly.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. concerned_immigrant

    scorpio05, well said. This country wants to open its borders to people who cannot add any value to this country's future. In a systematic manner, illegal immigrants of particular heritage have established a minority population with the sole objective of taking over the reins. Greedy and clueless politicians with severe short sightedness want to appease this group and keep their senate seats and rob this country some more. What they dont know is that they are robbing the future of their children. Rewarding crime leads to more crime.
    On the other hand, people who pay heavy fees and taxes and come here to study and work towards bettering the country through scientific and research work are turned away and forced to leave.

    Who in the right mind is going to do that?

    Turn away legal immigrants
    Welcome illegal immigrants and pay them with public taxes. awesome!

    September 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Reason

    Funny how Don't ask Don't Tell and Dream are together on a bill....could we apply DADT to illegals?

    September 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Krow

    The draft of the DREAM Act is not right. It's too lenient, but it's only somewhat releveant to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
    A few changes to the requirements and it would be a great way to reward those who make an effort to succeed past their State mandated limitations. What i mean is, children who had no choice but to accompany their parents to a new country.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. concerned_immigrant

    Stop the amnesty
    Stop robbing the people and distributing to the illegals
    Attract the kind of people who can take this country in to the next century of achievements

    September 21, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Missy

    Could anyone clarify the Dream Act for me, please? Would the taxpayers have to foot the bill for a college education for those seeking citizenship or are they on their own in coming up with funds? Makes a big difference in whether I would support the bill.

    Also, if they ARE responsible for paying for their education but don't have the money and don't want to go in the military, would we foot the bill for their education in that scenario? I just can't see paying for illegal immigrant college educations when so many who haven't broken the law and are already citizens can't afford to send their legal citizen children to college.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richp, Easton, Pa

      The democrats want the bill, who do you think is going to pay for it..

      September 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benjamin

      No the students will not get any aid they can only apply for loans...

      September 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • MichaelR

      Every illegal immigrant that enrolls in State College usually pays the in-state resident tuition $5,000 at State College – $11,000 at UC. So that means the taxpayers pay the other half of the cost of their college education – in California this would be approximately $12,000 per year for the illegal immigrants' higher education. If this bill goes through this would be hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants would be getting a college education on our dime, while that many Americans would be denied enrollment. The State colleges deny over 50% of students applying as is, this would be a tragedy for American working class students who would be denied a college education, by illegal immigrants who would then be rewarded with a green card. And the taxpayer gets to foot the bill. I'm sick of it. Tell your Senator to do some research on ADMIT RATES AT STATE COLLEGES

      September 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Keith

    Why should the tax payers have tom pay for illegal immigrants to go to school or college when most american citizens cant afford to go to college and live the american dream. Looks like the illegals are recieving special treatment from our politicians (Crooks).

    September 21, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • K_J

      Most of these people wouldn’t even qualify for government aid so I don’t think taxpayers would have to pay…

      September 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Something else that needs to be looked at is who pays the military pay? American taxpayers. So if we allow illegal aliens to serve in the military, then the taxpayers are paying their salaries. Not a good thing. If an illegal wants to do college or military, then there should be a federal tax penalty that they should receive for the years of work they did not paying taxes (if this applies). If they worked here illegally, then they should have to repay those taxes they didn't pay while working illegally.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
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