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

    and while they are at it, lets repeal the Diversity Visa lotterly. It brings in trash from aorund the world by awarding them green cards. These people are mostly fromAfrica and thrid world trash. So save America by stopping these trash from coming. It is unfair to thousands of immigranst who have to wait years in line to immigrate lawfully.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Richp, Easton, Pa

    WE don't need it, the military option has been there for years, I served with enough volunteers over 27 of those years. As far as school, got one question, who pays and no way no how if it competes with funding for citizens, if so you can kiss my pattotie... get that Rieds dream rider off that defense bill, once we clean house in the next two elections we need remove that ability to tack on stuff not associated with it.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Me

    To support this bill would be like saying Bernie Madoff's kids can keep all the cash he stole because THEY didn't steal it.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LiberalNN

    Democrats always trying to tack crap on to legislation. This is why the Republicans are saying "NO" to garbage like this.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. IEK

    @TRUTH

    I read the Bill. Earlier today in fact. It's publicly available online, and is only 18 pages of huge font and spacing. You can read it in under 30min if you really want.

    I fail to see the problem with the 35 year-old age limit given the other restrictions. A 35 year old can't just jump the border tomorrow and get citizenship.

    The year the bill is passed is the ending year of entry, the bill is quite clear that you have to have entered the country, under the age of 16 and have lived here for at least 5 years BEFORE the bill was passed. So if a 15 year old is brought into the country next year, not eligible. Technically the ending year of entry would be 2005, since if you entered the country in 2006 you couldn't meet the 5 years requirement.

    Also, it doesn't just require a promise. I suppose you could argue that they can get temporary, conditional legal status, and that only requires a "promise", but it also only lasts 6 years. After which they have to be at least in their second year of college (Bachelor's or Higher, not community college), or two or more years of military service (without a dishonorable discharge). If they haven't fulfilled their "promise" after 6 years, they are out.

    Any other "flaws"?

    September 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gary

    This DREAM Act is not a good idea, at least the military component is not. The military would be undertaking a huge security risk because they really do not know who they are getting for a recruit. Most military are required to be cleared to at least the Secret security level. How can you clear anyone if you cannot investigate their background. Of "good morale character" is not a background investigation. An federal investigator needs to see birth certificates, school records, medical records, etc., and needs to knkow everyplace you've been or lived before a security clearance may be granted.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Reason

    But the Kid is not my son.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yawn

      and Billie Jean is not my lover

      September 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NotALemming

    Every illegal in college represents one spot less for an American Citizen or legal immigrant. Furthermore, most of these schools are gov't subsidized, so this bill represents yet another taxpayer handout to illegals. If these illegals really care about education and want to become citizens, they can return to their home countries and apply for student visas, just like everyone else from everywhere else in the world.

    If Dems really cared about "Latino Students" they would introduce and debate this bill as a seperate issue from the broad Defense Authorization Bill - not simply use it as a political ploy in an election year, as was done just now....

    September 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dianne

    Since parents are responsible for the welfare of their children, legally, morally and financially, the parents of these illegals made a decision to bypass the laws of the USA and do what they wanted for the reasons they wanted to. They knew full well what the consequenses might be and they did it anyway. Now for some reason, we are being asked(forced) to accept the illegal behavior as something they had no control over. Since they have spent many years lying about their status and not reporting their parents, it is my belief that they have no rights to be here, and probably do not have the ethics to be considered for legal residence. When you spend your life lying it becomes a part of you and when you do nothing to change it, you are as responsible as the one who started the life of deception. As a taxpayer, I believe I have more than paid the price. It would please me greatly if these young people who have cost the US so much, would return to their country of birth and try to make positive changes there. America can not continue supporting the rest of the world, we have our own problems, which might not be so severe if Immigration laws had been enforced after the first(and hopefully last) amnesty. I am tired of being a good, honest, tax paying, law abiding citizen when I see that I am less respected than illegals.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Would you turn in your father and mother if you knew they were doing something illegal, when you're only a young student? Knowing that your parents could be put in jail or taken from you? I went to school with some illegals in high school. And, most of those did extremely well, where most Americans did average compared to them. And, you talk about it costing tax payer money. Well, think of it like this: These are boys and girls who grew up here, know the culture, more than their parents more often than not, and are potential 'tax-payers' themselves. So, in other words, you would be ready to spend money to send them out of the country, when you could extract a fine from them, force them to serve in the military, they always say they need more soldiers, or getting a better education at a college, and then begin to receive more from the taxes that they would pay? And, some people mention that they're taking away openings from legal citizens, well, if legal citizens can't compete with illegal immigrants who grew up the same way as they did, maybe we need more?

      October 18, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. U.S. Marine

    we have a bunch of stupid People leaving comments here. Technically everyone in the United States of America is a Illegal immigrant in some form or another. Unless you were a Native American your ancestors stole this land from them. The dream act is giving children who where brought here against there will a chance to have a life without living in fear. And I rather serve next a immigrant is wanting to be a american rather then most americans. cause majority of america takes everything for granted.

    so please dumb hillbillies stop leaving stupid comments

    September 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juan P.

      You have a great point.. Totally agree..

      September 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim S

      What does that have to do with it??? WE HAVE LAWS. Maybe no laws in Mexico , but if they break the law from the start, why not other laws?? How about not paying taxes? What is so hard to understand about following the FEDERAL immigration laws??? As a U.S. Marine , I would think you would see what happens around the world with countries without laws!!!

      September 21, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S. Marine

      yes as a Marine i have seen what other countries are like and its sad. but why am i going to say punish a child who had no choice in the matter for coming here. why punish a kid who was forced to come here. im not going to. yes if a illegal has a criminal record send him back. but for the ones who want to get a education or fight for a country they have grown to love then im all for it.

      and yes im a white u.s citizen and the immigration system is flawed and broken but this is a start.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      I have seen what foreign countries are like in my 20 years of the Marines. I agree why should we punish kids brought here at a young age that cant make a choice. But, when they are old enough to make a decision, why are they working on getting legal status in America then? They say they love this country becuase this is all they know, so why not follow the laws and become a legal resident then?

      September 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • MichaelR

      The illegal immigrants and their huge families need to move back to their home countries. Stop coming here and competing for jobs, stop competing for limited college spaces, stop overcrowding public schools, stop overcrowding emergency rooms with their colds and flu, stop collecting food stamps, and STOP MAKING SO MANY DEMANDS THAT WE CHANGE OUR LAWS TO ACCOMMODATE YOU. The answer is no, go home.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S. Marine

      again wit the dumb hillbilly comments.
      illegal immigrants arent stealing the jobs in america. they are taking the jobs that 99 percent of americans think they are to good to do. one american would go work in a chicken house all day....exactly my point. and the only ones that dont pay taxes are the ones that get paid under the table the rest of them pay taxes and dont get nothing back for it.

      and for the Marine that said why dont they try to get residents when they get older. cause why pay thousands of dollars and have to leave and no know when you are coming back. me and my wife spent close to 9,000 dollars to get her residents done and the only reason it got done was cause i was a Marine and had the military helping me.

      September 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. manemang

    I bet when the Republican'ts win the house in November, they might try to ressurect some of these bills and ask democrats to vote for them. Trust me the dumbocrats will oblige and vote for it. How the minority is able to defeat the majority beats me.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Phyllis North

    Military service is not the only route this act allows – you also get citizenship with a college degree. That is not defense related. Sen. Reid was just trying to push this through any way he could.

    Obama says we should have comprehensive immigration reform. This goes against that theory - it is a piecemeal approach. Sen. Webb is right: fix the borders first!

    September 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. V

    There are many kids who were brought to the United states before they learned how to talk or walk. They grew up with the "American" culture and left their families culture behind in order to peruse a better life. Imagine growing up your entire life in one country, living your life a certain way, following the rules, working your tail off to educate yourself to have a better life in a country that is has forever been your home and being sent back to a strange land just because your parents brought you here... these kids had no choice of coming and now they are here, love this country and want to work and have a good life in a country they call HOME! It is not a free ride, this process would take years and a lot of hard work and only the strongest, most educated and morally strong people will get ahead.
    For the people who insult the Soldier, you should sit back and really think about what you are saying, this person is out fighting a war for YOUR COUNTY while you sit back and watch it on your TV screen and read about in the paper.
    And you call yourselves proud AMERICAN CITIZENS.... right....

    September 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S. Marine

      thats the problem with most Americans. They dont look at the big picture. all they want is a free ride. and the only reason illegals get the jobs is cause the white man wont get up and do hard labor. that is why we have so many fat people in america.
      all the racism is uncalled for. problem is the ones that are trash talkin the dream act are just scared,

      September 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Phyllis North

    To "U.S, Marine": My ancestors were not immigrants. The came here legally from England when the U.S. was a colony. They remained British subjects until the American Revolution.

    The American Indians were not native - they migrated here from Asia.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S. Marine

      my apologizes for not being politically correct. but majority of every ancestor came over here on a boat looking for a better life.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 4freedom

    OMG, I can't take this anymore. All you people against this are spouting the same crap. It states that they have to prove they were here. not only that but do you know how hard it is to get in to college these days on grants, so another thing is they have to be smart and good kids, because the bill says they have to be of moral character. FYI, you can't just serve two years in any service. You have to commit for 4 or 6 years. There is no in between. and to end this, America is one big melting pot, has been and will always be. Everyone on this frikkin site posting is an immigrant.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
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