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. Juan

    Firstable, let me ask you Seal wife, tell me which war (Vietnam, Korea, Afganishtan, Irak) are truly acceptable? All are non-sense and stupid wars created by US to give jobs to some lazy individuals who the only thing they can do is carry riple and scream like idiots and by the way, we spend billions of dollars in such wars and US have not won any of those, they make you think they won so you can feel proud of something.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alan

    No to the DREAM act. I wish we had politicians in office worried about what is right for America, rather than pandering to every special interest group just to get re-elected. A lot of people have said you can not round up 10 million illegal aliens and send them back. That is probably right, but if we prosecute those that hire them, or rent to them, because if they can not earn money or find shelter they would more than likely self deport. We do not owe illegal aliens anything.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom

    To all those who say they "migrated" to the U.S. when they were 8 or 13 years old, you mean you broke into MY house, the USA, and made yourself at home.

    Go back, and admit your parents are at fault for your situation..

    September 21, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dave

    I get that people think we shouldn't "punish" the kids for the choices their parents make. But that certainly doesn't mean we should reward them!

    Almost every single illegal already has a legal path to citizenship: leave the country and apply like everyone else.

    Their parents may have brought them here illegally. But they continue to make the criminal choice by staying here illegally.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alex Miller

    No for the DREAM Act. Illegal behavior is being rewarded. My grandparents were legal immigrants. We 'followed the rules' and sacrificed by working, saving, doing without and paying off over the years student loans. Now my children should benefit by all of my hard work but they are competing with people who should not be here.
    P.S. when trying to register for a NON-CREDIT course in a community college, paying with a major credit card, I was denied because I would not give my social security number. So how does one who is here illegally obtain a number to register for school

    September 21, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. one day

    To all of you so called "Americans".
    I'm sure if you look at your family, there is someone in your family that is an immigrant. Also you tell me the truth would you work a 15 HOUR shift for very little pay l, a job like stock boy or wash floors in building? I'm sure not but someone has to so shut up. next: There is soooooo many immigrants that speak better English then some Americans. Also a lot of them get better grades then Americans. So by giving thrm the right to be here is not only the right thing to do, but is the smart thing to do, if America wants to progress for the better, because America is made from Immigrants. Just look how good your living now, but someone in your family long time ago had to work very hard for it,
    so you wouldn't have to.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      My family tree has several immigrants in it. ALL OF THEM CAME HERE LEGALLY! Stop confusing the issue by lumping legal immigrants and illegal immigrants together.

      September 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Welll said Dave!!!

      September 21, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JC

    Anyone who accusses another of racism over this debate, is guilty of taking the same pill. Stop dropping the race card. This is a political debate with negative implications over other peoples lives. It deserves serious discussion about FACTS not emotions or feelings. The dream act is solely a feel-good law that has no credible reason to be passed.

    Again, I feel for the kids but they are the victims of their parents lack of responsible behavior, not mine. I was born here, a son of Cuban immigrants. My daughter is born here and deserves a spot in college if she wants it. She should not be denied that seat because some other anchor-baby got it.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jessica

    im with some of the other people i dont care if their here legally go swim the rio grand

    September 21, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jaz

    I think it's funny that the very whites that want the "illegals" expelled are the very same non-native whites who had family that came to this country illegally as well... Talk about the pot calling the kettle black... hypocrites are a dime a dozen and the U.S. is chalked full of NON NATIVE AMERICANS SCREAMING ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION... the Irony is rich indeed!

    September 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. scorpio

    I hear so much about illegal immigration and amnesty? But sadly i never hear any opinion the broken system for legal immigration! What about the legal immigration of highly skilled Masters and PHD students who came here, studied at prestigious universities and are forced to leave, because there is no political will to change this rotten system for immigration?
    I guess America doesn't need the talented people now? they need only the labor class illegals? or is it that the legal immigrant base is not the 12 million huge potential voter base that could impact politicians! I see the Us politics going the third world country way! that's not the America I had heard about and had dreamed to make my career at. God bless America

    September 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Karla

    I am from Mexico I've been here in the USA for 10 years with my passport and Visa. When my family decided to come here, we tried not to break any laws and make everything as legal as posible. we paid thousands of pesos for our passports, we had to travel out of state on 3 different occasions to the US consulate for interviews in order to get our visas approved (first 2 times were declined even though my dad already had paid like $200 dlls for each of us, 3rd time we were approved) , we also got our temporary permit for entrance. It is unfair that people who crossed the border withouth any passport visa or permit can get residency or citizenship!!! I really dont care if it was running swimming through the desert I DONT CARE!!!! if you didnt enter the country legally u better go back.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brooksta

    Soldier, just curious...if you went to a military academy, why did you have 4 years in ROTC? I actually went to West Point and I never had to do ROTC.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BryanWolf

    Seal Wife: Fact check. Don't forget the ones that work for $5.00 in the construction trades to include janitorial svs and landscaping. I almost lost my company because I had to pay my employees more and pay taxes on them. I could not bid as low as the Illegals. In addition when the law was made allowing non-citizens to serve we needed every one we could get. Many were not expected to survive. To be fair the law should be changed to stop this practice.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Reen

    For all of you who think that we should just "throw them all out", we have been trying that for how many years now? Has it made a diffrence even when we made border patrol stronger? NO it sure hasn't. So we might as well meet them half way. Because no matter when we do they are going to keep jumping the border. Also before all of you make your comments you might actually want to know what your talking about. THE TAX PAYERS MONEY will not contribute even a little bit to pay for their college. All illegal immigrants will have to pay for their own schooling. So if you take a minute and think about it, its obvious that this is good for the economy!!!!

    September 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nancy

    PARROT and Support4DreamAct – your missing the point. We true Americans are NOT saying we don't want illegals to have stuff (housing, educations, etc.) What we are saying is that we (tax payers) should not have to pay for it. Why should I pay for illegals education when I can barely pay for my own children's. Can you understand that??

    Also – Juan – will you please learn how to spell Iraq!!!

    September 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Met

      Nancy,

      I am the daughter of illegal immigrants, and I too, came illegally to the United States at age 10. Last year, I was accepted to one of the best universities in the World- MIT- with a full ride, paid for by the alumni. A 50,000 annual academic scholarship that pays for my tuition, my housing, my health care plan, and my books. For four years, with a chance to extend it to my PhD studies.

      Yet, because I am the daughter of illegal immigrants I cannot attend.

      Nancy, I understand your position. But as a born-American, you too, have to step back, forget prejudices, and think about the thousands of students- students like me- who were not at fault when coming to the United States but who now have to pay the consequences. What child, when witnessing their parents, would say: "No mom, no dad, I am not coming with you. I am staying here because that's the legal thing to do." A child only wants to be with his or her parents, it's a child.

      In high school, many doors were closed to me. As an illegal alien, I couldn't get a job, I couldn't get an internship, I couldn't get financial aid or the vast majority of scholarships. But on weekends, I woke up early and took 2 buses to a nearby city that offered free SAT prep. On weekdays, I woke up early to go to school because I was Class President and I had 760 students to fund-raise for. I started a food and cloth drive for Haiti. I started a project to send green energy to under-developed villages in the world.

      Now, I am on the verge of my dream. I want to go to school to study mathematics and theoretical physics, and eventually start an global charity the likes of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I have so many dreams and so much hope for the American people- my people, because I grew up here and I very much love this country and consider myself an American. I am asking you, and the American public to give me the chance to give back to the country that, though despite the many doors closed to me, still made me who I am today.

      Let's forget prejudices and let's forget anger, and give opportunity to these students who will one day graduate and give back to our society and to our economy.

      September 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
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