Immigration reform: DREAM Act reintroduced in Congress

Immigration reform: DREAM Act reintroduced in Congress

CREATED May 12, 2011

Reporter: Steve Nuñez
Web Producer: Layla Tang

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – With talk of immigration reform back in the spotlight, Senate and House Democrats reintroduced the DREAM Act legislation in their respective chambers of Congress. The bill would allow illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay legally.

Erika Andiola, 23, graduated from ASU two years ago. She earned her bachelors degree in Psychology. But now her life is on hold.  And, Andiola could be deported at the blink of an eye.

Andiola's mom brought her here from Mexico when she was eleven. Today, she's one of two million Dreamers living in the country illegally while fighting to become legal.

"Why do you believe the President should stop deportations?" asked 9 On Your Side Reporter Steve Nuñez.

"He knows that it's a very tough situation to be able to pass DREAM in the House because it's a Republican majority," answered Andiola. "But he does have the power to help us at least in the meanwhile."

The DREAM Act would give illegal immigrant students who grew up in this country a chance to earn legal status after six years if they're in college or serve in the military.

KGUN9 News called Senator John McCain who once co-sponsored the same legislation. McCain's press office did not return our phone calls or respond to our emails. Neither did Senator John Kyl or Representative Jeff Flake, who's running for Kyl's Senate seat neat year.

Immigration Attorney Rachel Wilson claims she represented two college-bound honor students who recently got deported.

According to Wilson, giving legal status to an educated work-force stops another growing crisis: employers hiring illegal immigrants to pay them lower wages.

"If you make it equal so that everybody gets paid what they're supposed to be paid then Americans aren't competing with anybody and the playing field is level for everyone," said Wilson.

Wilson claims forcing DREAMERS like Andiola to go to the end of the line to apply for legal status could take up to 16 years.

Andiola, who wants to attend grad school to earn her doctorate in psychology, said she's not willing to do that.  

DREAM Act legislation has plenty of support in the Democratic-controlled Senate but has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled House.