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:

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

    There are millions of Latino voters in the United States that are citizens and they will not forgive in November. If GOP votes down the Dream Act they can forget about the Latino vote forsure. Also its never too late to change your life and make a better life for your family so if a 35 year old meets the requirements let him have the chance to change his/her life who are we to neglect an opportunity to another human.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • idb

      Nonsense, legal immigrants have no problems with a crack down on illegal aliens. It is those that support illegal aliens that will go down the drain.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moodgirl

      I am tired of hearing the sob stories of illegal immigrants. They should return to their country of origin and submit a request for student visa – like every other non-citizen must do. Quit making excuses.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricardo Gutierrez Jimenez

      Thank you very much for your support to the Dream Act, we need this support, please advice as many people as possible, we really need this to happen>

      September 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lili

    Its a right that many adolescents need they deserve to further their education and what is the problem with ppl becoming legalized when they were brought here at a young age (anchor babies) if all they now is this country!

    September 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nick

    Wait.. So I'm paying for these people to become citizens? They can go to school for free because of scholarships and grants for non-Americans. And they can get food stamps and other social programs for housing and food. How is this making them earn their citizenship? Were handing it over for free. Yes granted college isn't easy, and 2 years military isn't that hard. I don't understand why they can get such a free ride to become citizen, when I'm a citizen, born and raised in the US, and I have to pay to support the lives of illegal immigrants. They need to put something into the US to get something out of it. Citizenship should be earned, not given.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      First, you're not paying for people to become citizens....the filing fees for any immigration-related case pays the administrative costs of USCIS (the people who process the applications.) Second, who said school was going to be free? At the most, people applying under the Dream Act will get in-state tuition. Third, immigrants under temporary/conditional status are not eligible for state-funded programs, such as welfare/food stamps/etc. They are not permitted to enjoy these benefits unless they are legal permanent residents, which they could hypothetically apply for after 6 years.
      So, what is left that you are "paying for"? It's a clear fact that is almost always left out of these posts that lots of "illegal aliens" do in fact pay taxes. The federal govt allows ANYONE to get a Tax ID number, of which alot of people do because they believe it will make them look better if ever in deportation proceedings. Furthermore, there are billions of dollars in the tax treasury from people using fake IDs to get work, and these IDs never file their taxes. Maybe it's bad that people use fake IDs (and i think it is), but the fact is that Americans don't "pay for everytrhing" like they think they do. So get over it.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lou

      At the most, people applying under the Dream Act will get in-state tuition.

      Attn Mary, in CA, the difference between in-state vs out-state tuition in about $15,000-$20,000 a student. Hmmmmmm, it ain't cheap and who pays for that?

      September 21, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vic

      Actually, some of the costs involved with making any illegal alien a legal resident will be payed by tax payers. Filing fees will not be enough to cover all of the expenses involved with the process. It is more than just filing a piece of paper and processing it. You have to do background checks to ensure that these people do have a clean record and are of "good moral standing". Also, they may not be eligible for pell grants, but it is up to each state to determine whether the student can qualify for in-state tuition or not. And if they do qualify, that is an additional burden on the state and the university that rely on out of state tuition to cover the costs. Another issue is loans. How are they going to pay for these loans? Our own citizens can't even afford to pay them back. We can't afford higher education, so how will they? We are just adding even more debt rather than providing a viable solution to a problem. I think there are many illegal aliens out there that are good people and deserve a chance to improve their lives but the dream act is not the best way to go about that.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benjamin

      They dont get scholarships or grants so what are you talking about? do you even know about the bill? They can only get student loan which guessed it "INTEREST". People dont know anything but they are quick to comment and yes i was born here and not mexico.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Seve

    I agree with the conservatives...send them ALL back. America doesn't need more doctors. America shouldn't give citizenship to anyone who put their lifes on the line for our country. We don't need scientist in our country to help advance our technology. We don't need simple electricians or insulator installers to help make our homes more energy efficient.
    We just need to stay dumb, fall further behind other countries in college grads, and just hate anything that is not white. Except for John Boehner (he is brown because of his wicked tan).

    September 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lou

      America doesn't need more doctors.

      Uhhhhh, legal Asian immigrants are taking care of the lack of doctors. How many illegal Latinos are in Med-School versus legal Asian/Indian immigrants. Go to UCLA Med School, majority Asians. Where are all these Latinos we are oppressing?

      America shouldn't give citizenship to anyone who put their lifes on the line for our country.

      I agree with you, if anything. It should only be military.

      We don't need scientist in our country to help advance our technology.

      Please name me all these illegal Latino scientists. Go to Silicon Valley, all I see are Asians.

      We don't need simple electricians or insulator installers to help make our homes more energy efficient.

      I'm sorry, only illegals can be electricians? When did that happen?

      September 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BryanWolf

    Dear People, The problem is that if this to hashed out it "should not" be attached to the "don't ask don't tell bill." This is how they get bills Passed that might not stand on their own. Like prohibition was snuck in on tax bills and stated that permits had to be purchased yet none were issued. This does not give ether bill a fair chance.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    As an american it feels like my birth right and my childrens birthright is being taken from us when some one can break the law and as long as they dont get caught there kids can be americans.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • !!!!

      Yeah juan (john),

      You're little mind doesn't let you see past your "little" life. Your birth right, and what about the Native American's birth right, and what about the African slaves birth right, if it was for you we would still continue to live in those days, where everyone redendered service to the white folks..right??? Why don't you land your plane to 2010!! We are all equal! And even after all is said and done God will be the one who decides what it is to happen not mankind..

      September 21, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. HELL NO.

    As a TRUE Mexican American.

    No To Amnesty.

    No to the Dream Act.

    NO to Illegal Immigration.

    I have had enough of this horse crap, Get out of our country you empty headed animal, food trough Wipers! Go back to your own country, fix your own problems, and do things the LEGAL way!

    September 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • BryanWolf

      What do you think if the parents are still here they are given the opportunity to become citizens. Or even the ones that were allowed to go to school. As it stands now if they try to make things right they will be gone. The parents also should be fined and allowed to pay the fine off in payments.?

      September 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yancey

      Wow... even Mexicans have their own Tío Tomas.

      September 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Karen

    Please tell me what's so great about being an American citizen. Actually we should be applauding these immigrants with a good background and a good education who want to stay in America. Most real Americans are stupid, have no respect for the law or education or their parents. We can learn from these people.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • BryanWolf

      Dear Karen, I don't know if you have had a chance to visit the third world countries where the illegals are coming from. We in America have our problems but much better conditions to live in. However, "The Elite" big business owners would love it if we would work for a $1.00 a day. It would save them the a lot of cost of moving their companies to third world countries so they can maximize their profits. "Get Richer Much Faster" than it takes them here.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Karen, need help packing? Your are so smart I'm sure they could use your vast knowlege in Mexico!

      September 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • MichaelR

      Hey Karen, so you say all Americans are stupid (that's called RACISM) and they don't respects their parents or education. Maybe thats what you see in your little circle.... My family is from generations of hard working, blue collar workers, much hardship, much struggle, never applying for public assistance, generations of farmers, coal miners, back to soldiers in the Revolutionary War, and I think you and the 12 million illegal immigrants should move away.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. idb

    This "Dream" act is nothing but a concealed path to legalizing illegal aliens. It is therefore highly discriminating towards legal immigrants. The following questions can be asked; how did an illegal alien bypass the security procedures to enter the military? How did an illegal alien get registered into college? If the illegal alien received a scholarship or other government assistance he/she must have committed fraud to become eligible. So, in short, Reid wants to legalize criminal behavior. He should be in jail.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Char

    Liberals using our heros to pass a political agenda is the lowest u can go!

    September 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Soldier

    Dear CNN
    well my comments keep mysteriously disappearing thank you for the space to voice our opinion CNN,
    there seems to be a paragraph missing on your terms of service, i think its the one about "if you opinion leaves our dumb uneducated misinformed conservative viewers dumber that they already are, they your comment will be removed as a safety precaution so Bob, Brad and Lou's heads do not explode of confusion and disappointment in cold hard facts "
    just thought i brought that to your attention thank you once again in a job very well done CNN

    September 21, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • idb

      You, as an illegal alien have no rights.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neutral&Peaceful

      Nice.. lol i think its just funny

      December 8, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Char

    No to the DREAM ACT, How dare these liberals use HEROS of war to reward criminals.
    If they wanna be here bad enough they can go back with their parents came from and do it right and encourage others to do it the right way also. Instead of rewarding bad behavior with baught and paid for goodiez!

    September 21, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. wendy

    Im mexican but i was born here and i believe that students that are trying to succeed be given their citizenship and those who are here doing nothing but be in gangs be sent back and people have to learn that not all mexicans are bad just because one f**** up its the same with all races and plus were all immigrant the real americans are the NATIVE AMERICANS if it was for them all white, african, mexican, asian and all the other immigrant that took over their country would be OUT!!!

    September 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      Now, you were Born nere, but were your parents? I believe another issue is "Birthright Citizenship", and all the "Anchor Babies" born to ilegal immigrants.

      September 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neutral&Peaceful

      replying to truth.. your an anchor baby too, you should be out too. everyone should be out. We should all just leave and let america be. Yup that sure is a lot better. Instead of being ignorant people fighting for something we have NO say in.

      December 8, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Juan P.

    Hello everyone,

    Everyone has the right to express your thoughts and feelings, as is one of our rights. However, I ask you to please be real and don't hate too much. I was born and raised in Mexico, a country that I respect and love, but I migrated to the U.S when I was 13 years old to educate myself and become what I am today. For this reason I come to LOVE The United States of America with passion that I would risk my life to defend this soil if needed, because this country has given me the opportunities that many natural born citizens simply don not take.
    I have completed a B.S & M.S in Electrical Engineering and in soon to complete my PhD in Electrical Engineering. I currently work for a government contractor and my job very much contributes to defend our country from foreign and domestic enemies. The dream act would simply help people like me obtain their dreams of education and a life long lasting career.
    If you think that providing the DREAM ACT for this young people is a mistake. I really hope some of you would go to school, educate yourself, go to graduate school and see that the U.S imports a lot of international students fully supported financially for science and engineering PhD programs. In my group am the only American citizen and not supported by the school financially, the rest are Chinese or Indian.
    I just want you to think about this; there are people like myself out there that really appreciate what The United States of America is and its potential to maintain its status as a world leader through education, military and technology. For the future I will be having my own contracting company to contribute to our economy. Someone please tell me how me obtaining my dream harms The United States of America? I don't think it does at all.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • idb

      Juan, unfortunately you make a mistake in your reasoning. It is not that people are against others improving themselves or going to school. It is that people break the law to do so, while there is a legal path already open. If you want to go to a US school as a Mexican, you can already do so trough the student exchange program. The fact that you have chosen the criminal path should be punished. That has nothing to do with hate, but with upholding the law.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moodgirl

      Were you not able to reach your dream in your country of origin? Should we allow any and every student in the world to come to the U.S. and get an education at the tax payers expense – no questions asked? What I don't understand is the illegal immigrants idea that the rules don't apply to them.

      Haitians are sent back without questions. I am sure they are coming to work and get an education but DHS won't allow it. How do we explain to them that they must go through the process, pay the application fee, subject themselves to a physical, wait for a background check, obtain a sponsor and then wait in line for decades while the illegal immigrants march in the street for more benefits?

      Immigrants who are so unfortunate as to come from a country that does not share a border with the United States are the real recipients of discrimination – they can't just run over the border and demand their rights.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fine

      Thank You JUAN P. People like you we need in the SENATE!!!!!!!!!
      The REALITY is that there are so many ilegal inmigrants that came to USA with passport as well and stated for a better life, but are unable to legalize their status because of the unfair and broken Inmigration system and by the way they will need to pay a big fee if they can get statrted in the process. all these people that hate the illegal inmigrants think that they are all criminals and cross the border like some do, but the reality is that the dream act is for a selected group of people with a LOT TO OFFER TO USA !!!!!!!!!

      ALL this problems with ilegal inmigrant is because USA does not have a real and fair inmigration system. Don't you think if all this students could apply for a student visa, they could have do so already???? please IDB you need to EDUCATE your self about the hole LEGAL INMIGRATION PROCESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • idb

      Fine, I know everything about the immigration process, being a legal immigrant. I also know that it is a crime to come into the country illegally. I have followed the proper procedures and paid the dues. Illegal aliens have nothing to contribute to this country. They cost the country 13 Billion per year and are responsible for 29% of the felonies. In cities like Los Angeles they are responsible for 95% of the murders. There is not reason at all to grant these people amnesty.

      September 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juan P.

      Fine. Thanks for your response. it is 100% true and accurate what I just said. Someone told me earlier that their taxes paid for my education. The truth for the matter is the I paid for my university education on my own by having a job and student loans. But they are also not thinking that because the higher the level of education, they more potential for job and financial growth there is for a person in the United States and that absolutely means more taxes.
      Now suppose my education was indeed paid with the American Tax Payers, (WHICH DID NOT HAPPEN) then I can promise you that by now I have paid it all and more back, perhaps in a natural born citizen. I hope you see my point, simple math and economics.
      If these kids are already getting educated with tax payers money, and what to attend to college then give them the opportunity to do so, as they will be paying more taxes based on income upon graduation and the fact that they find a job. Thanks everyone for your productive comments this is what democracy should be all about, the voice of the people for the people.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • WDK

      @ Juan P. Coming here at 13 you attended high school at taxpayer expense which contributed to school over crowding.
      Your parents helped drive down wages of American citizens and their vehicles added congestion to the highways. The
      place you took in college was a place an American would have loved to been in but they didn't meet the Affirmitive Action/ diversity quota. The quality of life for American citizens has been in decline since the Hart/Cellar act of 1965 was passed and opened up the US to immigration from every third world country on the planet. Immigration has not helped the American middle class it has only helped the ruling elite take a bigger percentage of the GDP from the average American. California is a perfect example, illegal immigrants cost California $20 billion a year for education healthcare, and incarceration/law enforcement and California is 18 billion a year in the red. California would have a surplus if it wasn't for illegal aliens. Juan go back to Mexico and make that country better we don't need you here.

      September 22, 2010 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. KT

    Man there are a lot of racists out there...why don't we ship some Canadians back too? Oh wait, they're a few shades lighter...

    September 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Char

      typical liberal using the wiord racist when the arguement is lost. telling illegals to go back is not racist. illegal is not a race.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liveon

      Yes very typical. By the way, there are not millions of ILLEGAL Canadians in the United States.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIA

      Anyone who can say with a straight face that race doesn't play a part in this debate is just being ignorant (or just closing their eyes.) it's not a "typical liberal" thing to automaticalyl scream racism. just on this post read how many comments talk about "maybe there's a place for them to learn how to cook refried beans in their own country". sure, not everyone with a view on this issue is racist- even more conservative thinkers. But clearly, for alot of people, there's racism here.
      And the rest of you against this bill would feel much differently if you were walking in different shoes. if you were brought here as a 7yr old child, established your entire life here, and then were told to just simply leave, i'm SURE your tune would change. it's very easy for you to simply say "all illegals out" because you are sitting in your american-citizen chair. what happened to do to others what you would have done for you?
      don't be selfish. there is plenty of room in this country for people eligible under the dream act. no one is stealing anything from you. your life will continue on exactly the same way as it did before.

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