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. Wow

    You people are sick and stupid.
    Your STEREOTYPING about a good 60-70% of the kids this bill would benefit.
    Most of them are hard working kids who got stuck in a bad situation they had no control over and also, not every illegal immigrant came here legally. If you actually did some research, you would know that the legalization process is highly complicated and also expensive, not every one can afford it and we have an extremely flawed system as far as immigration is concerned.
    The fact most of you want to punish children speak of how ignorant, bigoted, and white trash you truly are.

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

      "White Trash" is an unacceptable description

      September 21, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MaMa


    September 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S. Marine

      then MaMa get out the country cause look in some way or another your family came here illegally.

      why are so so many Americans so retarded.

      People like you are the reason i question why i am in the military and i fight for a country that the people in it are so stupid.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. elly

    Illegal immigrants pay about $9 billion a year just in social security taxes that they never claim (not saying they should be able to), just putting that in for the whole "my tax dollars" argument. Anywayssss...its a very cynical way to treat the lives of others just because they can't benefit you and imagine if everyone was judged as harshly as they judge others, all the "no one cares, just send them back" people would be in trouble.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • MichaelR

      If an illegal immigrant has a job and is paying taxes, that means they have taken an AMERICAN worker's job. We have 15 million AMERICAN CITIZENS who can't find work, going bankrupt, homeless..... illegal immigrants need to move back to their home countries. In Europe the government deports them and pays for their airfare back to their country.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • MichaelR

      You seem to forget, no one asked the 12 million illegal immigrants to move here.... they came knowing it was a temporary situation, they can be deported any time. But now they are making demands for college enrollment and citizenship. They are demanding we change our laws, its our fault they don't have citizenship and right to compete for our jobs. We have to make it up to them right?

      September 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim S

    Time for us to worry about taking care of our own families. I am tired of this administration trying to take everything away from the one half of the country that actually pays taxes and "redistribute" it to the half of the country that doesn't pay any taxes!!! No more. Time to fight back America!!!!!!!

    September 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ricardo Gutierrez Jimenez

    I was brought here when I was 14, graduated from Western International High School in Detroit, MI. Obtained a BBA from Davenport University in 2005 and now working on my MBA. I was nor eligible for any financial aid, had to pay out of my pocket 80,000.00 US dollars and did not care, it was my education, i dream i had since I was an infant. After achieving such accomplishment, found out that I was not eligible to practice due to illegal status. It was frustaing and disapointing to a high level, I almost wanted to go back to Mexico. Now, working and avg. of 65 hour a week to be able to pay my tuition at a masters level, it is to certain degree deceiving, but I will not give up. I just hope, senate takes people like me in consideration before ruling on such complex topic as is immigration. I plea senate and congress to give us, outstandings US resident the opportunity to achieve the bream we all have.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Do you pay federal income taxes? That is a BIG question for alot. Its great that you have paid all your college yourself, but how did you get that money? If you worked in america and got paid legally, then taxes would be taken out.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • MichaelR

      There are millions of Americans who would have liked to get an MBA, and work very hard at 2 jobs, but they couldn't afford college. We have plenty of hard working poor AMERICAN students and unemployed workers we need to provide opportunity for the American Dream, sorry but the US can't accommodate the worlds poor moving here, competing for jobs and competing for college spaces. Go home where you can work and start a career legally.

      September 21, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cieje Valentine

    George Carlin said it best.. "America is finished."

    September 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Benjamin L

    So let me get this straight. If you have been here for at least five years and you have a highschool degree you get to go to college. You are not allowed student loans and must pay cash or get a private loan. Do you really think a bank will make a loan like that? So that leaves the military. Sounds like they want this passed so they have an endless supply of soldiers. Heck we would never need the draft. But they will have to re-write all the manuals in Spanish. The Dems are so obvious it is not funny. Pandering for the Latino vote plus they can say look at the bad Repubs. Reid is a shoining example of what mainstream America is sick of.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. James

    But I don't want them to come here! They're willing to work harder than I am. They'll earn better grades than my children and take better jobs! They'll contribute more to their employers than I will and will be promoted over me! They'll save their money to make a better life for their descendants, and gradually fill up the gated communities and private schools! BWAAAAAAA!

    September 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • MichaelR

      James, nothing makes me more sick than people who claim that Americans are lazy, which is what your post says. My kid does 4 hours of homework a night, everyone in my family works long hours, except father, mother and sister who are unemployed, can't find work and are nearly bankrupt. Take your "Americans are Lazy" argument and stuff it.

      September 21, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S. Marine

      if you are unemployed and actually want a job go work....there are so many places hiring....wait my bad most people are to good to go work at a papa johns or pizza hut or any other fast food joint. if you want a job you can find a job its just a matter of getting off the coach and going to find one. they aint gonna call u

      how is it im in the military yet i have been able to find night jobs whenever i wanted the extra money.

      September 21, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Josue Moreno

    People, Humans I believe thats what we all are. I came to this country illegally when i was 5 my mom came here 2 years b4 me and she paid someone to bring me here. Now I know and i agree that her actions are and should be justified as illegal. We have TPS and we pay our taxes since we started working legally. I am 18 and I am enrolled at UCSD and i dont get any finaid but its ok i know that its the adversity i have to overcome for being a temporary resident. The Dream Act would help me become a permanent resident and thats what i want because i would go to war for this country. I dislike the fact that there are so many people coming here illegal but ultimately I know that they are chasing a dream. I know its wrong and i am 100% against it and we need to coalesce as a nation republican democrat and independent and solve this problem. I mean we give amnesty to millions of middle easterns and they get an easy path to citizenship and they dont have to pay taxes legally so why not be mad at that..i know this bc my gf is pretty much an insider she knows...anyways..i just want to say that i came here illegally and i am against what my mom did and if i could change it i would and i just want to take this time to apologize to the United States of America for violating the law on behalf of my mother and I. I am truly deeply, sincerely sorry. Thanks for reading.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Swamprattler

    “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.”

    She didn't say I want to do it legally, so it don't matter how it happens, just so it does, "Back to Mexico with you"

    September 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jjheinis

    Obtaining citzenship through military service is a common well-accepted route toward citizenship. To me, it is a fair exchange. The US needs military personnel. Of course, this won't fly in Limbaughland. It is my firm belief that some of the largest opponents to this route of citizenship have never been outside of their home county much less outside of their own state. In an earlier era, they would have been Dixiecrats and chanted "Segregation Now, Segregation forever. They are not willing to take the time to learn that it is virtually impossible to "be legal" if you are from South of the Rio Grande. Look at to see how complex the process is. It is great if you are an immigration attorney but not if you are a person of average means.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tinkerbell

    They will find a way to pay for this. The muslim dictator puts muslims and illegals before anything else

    September 21, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. qnzilis

    For everyone who is against this bill, just remember that we are all the same no matter where we come from or where we were born. There is always two dies to a story blah blah blah bottom line is its out of our hands anyway so why waste time talking about it her.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Luis Teixeira

    Is exactly what I rell before....the republicans are going to opose to any law from the goverment...if they win the mayority of the congress is exactly what are we going to urgent to make campaing for vote agains the republicans and give to the democrats the mayority...because if not this behaivior are exactly what are we going to have for the next 4 years....and this is a nigthmare.....we can't afford it...

    September 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. elenore

    People in this country need a history lesson.We are going down the way of the ROMAN empire but much faster.Filing up our military with Immigrants and Militia is the start of bad things to come.To leave this nations defense to foreigners and profiteers who won't always have the Nations interest at heart like citizens.That is why the UN fails.Immigration is being used to drain other nations of youth and intellect because the Rich in this nation are ruining education for citizens and setting up a College Caste System,don't believe me how many Harvard grads and other Ivy Leagues having taken over positions in government of all three branches.By using slave labor as we do, we just move the work to slaves in other countries instead of keeping slaves in this nation we loose something important,the middle class,When the roman empire increased slavery, technology and innovation went stagnant for them.Now we are trying to pay of our citizens with basic Welfare because the Rich in this nation has put money ahead of their Patriotism,Welfare is cheaper and if people have basics needs like food and shelter they won't rise up with demands.It is just a matter of time before they start paying for their own defense while they suck dry the government while paying less into it.Want proof in Detroit city Proper the Rich neighborhoods and Corporations pay for their own security instead of taxes into the Police Department leaving the rest of the city a wasteland of Crime that is why the middle class has built a new Detroit around the old one sadly the poor have been left behind.Corporations and Banks have taken over this Nation.Banks own stocks in every Corporation which they badger to outsource to make money from your savings you never get the profits they keep those(they use your money to outsource your job and lower your wages and benefits)please use a Credit Union with membership where you get a say in Banking and fees,Education like Trade schools(they get grants from government for students while ever increasing tuition),Food Stamps are keeping companies like Walmart and Kroger in business while they increase food costs and increase foreign products and lower wages large portion of profits are now food stamps,Housing another scam with Developers/Banks(they are now renting the property from foreclosures) with the money taxpayers gave them collecting money from government.Corporate Welfare and Tax Loopholes,States are competing by giving away their natural resources on the cheap while giving these companies tax breaks and sometimes loans.Environmental damage is usually tied up for years in Court while taxpayers pay for clean up.Federal Reserve and Commerce department letting foreign nation continue to abuse us with Trade and Currencies.Health care most Hospitals and many Insurance Agencies are non-profit they pay no taxes instead you go bankrupt or pay increasing rates so the people running these things can get forgiveness loans in the million sometimes and serious pay,Hospitals overcharging insurance and government.Doctors who profit from insurance usually don't even give their own staff health insurance.The Federal Government has few jobs Trade,Banking,Defense they fail on all three because of Corporation and Banks.Foreign Aid usually helps Corporations by billing the government for services at our expense for people who aren't US citizens.Military bases are back door trade routes protecting goods fro Corporation at our expense.Defending other nations at our expense.Why all because the Rich in this nation profit from it.Any time we start getting wise both parties start their culture war,issues they will never solve because it brings in votes,Abortion,Illegal immigration,gay rights,etc.. they will never,never solve these issues because if they did,most people who are middle,class moderates would have to focus on real issues like Corporate/Bank take over of America.And the real kicker is when Corporations pay more taxes to foreign nations than our own.And use Foundations and off shore banking as tax havens.Both parties try to divide us on Race and Cultural issues so we don't actually make them do as they are supposed to do.And BTW now foreign nations and Corporations can pay our elected officials and I don't see them changing that in the near future.Want a way out trying to change use ballots in States to change state laws so 3rd parties can compete.Both parties have stacked the deck to keep these other parties out.Why aren't politicians doing anything because they are rich too.And banks are using bailout money to buy more Treasuries Notes with a profit of course to keep federal Government afloat,that's why there isn't any loans.

    September 22, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
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