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. Liveon

    The DREAM Act needs to be blocked! My wife is from overseas and is here legally and we are having to go through hell to get her permanent residency papers and a work permit. I think none of you can know the rediculous amount of government nonsense that my wife and others who come here the legal way have to go through until you have actually dealt with it. Why would any of the illegal Mexicans be able to come into the country and get CITIZENSHIP from graduating from a community college or serving in the military? I wish my wife could bypass all of the paperwork by just arriving in the US and go to college and get citizenship. If they are going to do this for the illegal Mexicans, then do it for anyone who just comes here and graduates from college. Just to get the papers submitted for permanent residency is $1050 + the other hundreds spent on the initial paperwork and more money later for the citizenship process. Does anyone think ILLEGALS need to go through any of this? NO because the government gives them a free ride through everything.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • idb

      You are totally right. Why discriminate legal immigrants by favoring criminals?

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

      It is clear you have ABSOLUTELY NO idea what your talking about. #1 it is not just for mexicans #2 it is ONLY for those who were brought here as children, because as children they didn't "knowingly" choose to break the law. #3 I suppose you ASSUME it's going to be free? well your WRONG again! College is not FREE, and they will not be eligible for the pell grant, only student loans (which they have to pay back) or work study AND just like your wife they have to pay for the proper paper work too. There other option is to join the military but I suppose you call the chance of giving your LIFE for America Free too?

      September 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liveon

      Lety let me clue you, the main people to benefit from this Act are Mexicans. What nationality are the people holding the signs in the picture? I dont see Asian, African, European, or any other nationality besides Mexico. Also spare me the other BS about military and college.

      September 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lord Giggles

      @ Liveon: So they for sure are Mexican? They cant be, lets say...Nicaraguan, Chilean, Peruvian, Columbian, Venezuelan. Should I go on? The fact that the majority are Mexican is do the country's proximity to the USA. If it were China, Russia, or any country in Africa next to the USA then they would be the illegal immigrants. Do not assume all are from one place.

      September 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lorenzo

    Why do you even care as much if someone who was brought here as an infant went to school,graduated and now has the opportunity to be legal? Is it because you as a natural born American your afraid that this person might become a better American than you and contribute more to the country? As an American we all shape our lives and its up to only us to make it a good one and if we dont its no ones fault but our own. Why be selfish and deny a chance to someone, America is made up of immigrants and is the land of dreams and opportunity.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benjamin

      Well Said..

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

      America is made up of immigrants, that is correct. However, they came here legally. This discussion is about illegal aliens. It is like comparing welcome guests with burglars. Do you want to give them both the same treatment?

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

      Should we dismantle DHS and ICE and allow anyone who wishes to come here do so without restriction? Why is one group favored over others?

      September 21, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lord Giggles

      @ MoodGirl: I don't think they are favoring any particular. Last I read it benefits ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS who we're brought here as young children. Nothing there states anything about race. I thought conservatives don't like it when people use the "race card" when talking about ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.

      September 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ab

    No one gave my kids free college . And thats what it will be FREE . Just like there food, health care , dental, housing, wic free school, free lunch program at school. While I work my butt off and pay taxes to feed them. A mexican lady told me they buy food (from there food stamps) and get supplies for there taco stand. and pay NO taxes.. So I dont buy the dream act. Go dream in Mexico.

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

      well maybe u need to break laws and get free stuff. thats the example thats being led here.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lety

      How about doing a little bit of research before writing and letting everyone know how ignorant to the issue you really are:
      During this six year conditional period, immigrants would not be eligible for federal higher education grants such as Pell grants, but they would be able to apply for student loans and work study.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Benjamin

    To all the people they say "Send Them Back"...how do we go about doing that? Does America have secret powers that i dont know about? I'm born here and i think they should pass it cuz either way THEY ARE HERE.. @Brad "how to cook refried beans"...really?...I support the DREAM ACT..

    September 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Char

      Its easy, if their parents broke into our country they can go back with their parents and come thru the correct channels.
      like i did. its hard work and tough love but if they want here bad enough they will do it. and when they do they can encourage others to do the same instead of breaking laws and thinking they will get a handout. you dont learn lessons by watching others break laws and get rewarded you learn lessons by getting punished and working to make things right and others watching u and learning the diffrence between right and wrong

      September 21, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Char

      And if they wanna blame someone they can blame their folks for putting them in that position

      September 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lety

      Char- by "learn lessons" you mean going to school to get a higher education or joining the military? Which ever one of the 2 you choose I support 100%

      September 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Char

      No lefty i mean going back to their hometown "like i did" and do it the right way and become a citizen.
      why should i be punished with tax money to pay for their college? nobody paid for mine i went back to england and did it right and i can sleep at night knowing i did the right thing.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moodgirl

      So do we allow the same from anyone else WHO IS HERE?

      September 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lety

    I sincerely hope the Dream Act bill passes.
    Only those who have not done any research on what the Dream Act is call it amnesty.
    These are children who were brought here by NO choice of their own, who are getting an education to better themselves or are joining the military. Regardless of the two they choose it's to be commended, way more than what a lot of youth chooses to do these days.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DD214

    Soldier, let me guess, you checked the box, thats how you got into the academy, so the special consideration you received got you a free education on taxpayer dollars, yeah you are welcome for me footing the bill. OOOH Jesse Jackson, Jr gave it to you,wow. Any of us who really serve and served this country, do not feel the need to throw it out there stating how great we are. We do our job and move on. Well, you Academy education taught you about OERs, so I am sure you filled yours at the sacrifice of the enlisted who earned the OER for you. While you made sure your minority box was checked. After all there was no way you could have done it without, checking the box. Psycology, military science, yeah, when you get a real degree and back it up with MS and D, then go tooting your horn, but hopefully by that time you'd realize the higher you go, the more you owe, but then again that is againt your OER frame of mind. Congradulations on being a leach.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Char

    If the DREAM ACT is passed its just encourging these so called kids that its ok to break laws cause someday it will be worth it instead of doing it the right way , these kids have nobody to blame but their parents who broke the law to begin with. why should i be punished with my tax money?

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

      Naw just give your tax money to the bank Ceos because they need gas for their boats..forget those future tax payers..forget them..

      September 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Char

      If the ceos are legal citizens i would rather give them money then people who broke in my country to steal from me.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moodgirl

      I agree.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lety

      First of all, During this six year conditional period, immigrants would not be eligible for federal higher education grants such as Pell grants, but they would be able to apply for student loans and work study.

      Secondly: If these kids go back (most) will not be able to come back, and the few who could will have to wait (around) 15years. Besides your asking them to go back to a place they don't know, to start from scratch in a country that speaks and writes a language that they don't.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benjamin

      Go back and wait for 10 to 15 years??...Thank god your not my pops.. Back in your day, it was easier but now is different. No parent would send their kid back to a country they dont know..be serious.

      September 21, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Loret

    The Dream Act is a NIGHTMARE!

    September 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Juan P.

    Dear idp.

    I understand exactly what you are saying, I came to the U.S. with a passport. But what about all of those that came here when they were dependent on their parents as I was at 13 and didn't know I what immigration was all about. I just simply went to school because that is what everyone around my age does. The reality hits in senior year high school, its really hard, however I feel I done something good to improved the way natural born citizens view us. Why not give them the same opportunity? have them paid a monetary fine would be ideal once they apply for Dream Act would be ideal, since the law has been broken. but give them the opportunity I say! interested on educated comments only please.! thanks

    September 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Char

      you have your parents to blame. its tough love, why should i get punished with my tax dollars to support the mistake ur parents made?

      September 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moodgirl

      It encourages illegal immigration. We will be flooded by illegals dragging their kids across the border, waiting until they reach college age, then they will line up to get an education on the tax payers dime. We need to discourage illegal activity, not reward it. We already pay for their secondary school eduation – when is enough enough? There should be no incentives for illegal immigration – only penalties.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juan P.

      you know I understand that your tax dollars paid for some of my education, however, I paid for all of my university education and now that I have a salary I am paying my taxes probably at a higher rates than the average American so am giving my share back to the country and not complaining about it.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bruno

    Vote for the dream act now White people. Some of this young Hispanic kids will be taking for you when you own kids put you in a retirement home.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Char

      typical liberal statement

      September 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bruno

    Char put on your white hood and return to your Clan rally please.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Moodgirl

    Racism is used there is no logical argument. It stops people from putting forth ideas and ends the conversation. When you are backed into a corner use the race card. I know – I'm black.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tulio

    not all illigals cross the border you know, the only reason people think that all illigals are mexicans is because their right next door to us, many other illigals come from russia, asia, india, europe, africa and many parts of canada and south america, they come here with tourist visas and stay the remainder of their time instead of going back. There are millions of illigals that are not only mexican, there are many white, black and asian illigals who come from all around the world to stay here. You people need to look at the bigger picture, stop accusing the mexicans, just because they found another way to come here doesnt mean you dont have other illigals in the country that come in differently.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • BryanWolf

      Silly, they all have to cross the borders too. But if they would cause embargos like Cuba then they could stay. Not fair.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BryanWolf

    I see I might be tagged to get deleted so I will leave the chat room. I have posted at least five post one right after the other and seem to not appear. I leave you with this: If I ran a house of Ill repute and gave all my money to feed the poor would it still not be illegal? I see great accomplishments, so why cannot they accomplish the test.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • BryanWolf

      It must have been the prost word. I see watch the terms I use. Thanks

      September 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. zoom

    Its really easy to judge someone or even hate someone or treat them like crap until your the one standing in there shoes. Then its a whole different view every body is here on earth for a short period of time the country does not belong to any body bc a the end we die and the earth is still spinning. So think about how you treat people and how you would like to be treated bc one day you will meet ouy creator. And remember Jesus was not American!

    September 21, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • BryanWolf

      True, but he also said for us to follow our laws. and give to caesar what is caesars.

      September 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
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