By Barbara Grijalva - email
Tucson, AZ (KOLD) - Arizona's immigration enforcement law is putting pressure on Congress and the Obama administration to put immigration reform on the fast track.
But Friday we learned the possibility of a separate Dream Act to offer citizenship to people here illegally since they were children is not realistic.
We spoke with Senator John McCain about the Dream Act's chances.
We also spoke with Rodney Glassman, the Tucson Democrat who wants McCain's senate seat.
Monday young adults held a sit-in in McCain's Tucson office.
They wanted McCain to again co-sponsor the Dream Act, as he did two years ago.
They put their futures in this country on the line in order to have a future through the Dream Act.
They were arrested, and later released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.
They will fight deportation.
"So as somebody who loves this country and considers it my home, I'm pushing for legislation that's not only going to help me, but it's going to help thousands of other students have a way to fix our status and that's why we need the Dream Act," said one of the protesters, Mohammad Abdollahi.
The protesters want the Dream Act separated from other immigration legislation to get it passed quickly.
It would require an, at least, six-year path to citizenship, and two years of college or in the military.
Protester Yahaira Carrillo always wanted to be a Marine.
"We cannot blame young children for the decisions that their parents made," she said.
"I didn't say, okay, I'm going to go and be undocumented and break the law. That's absolutely not what I would want to do, but that's the situation that I find myself in," Carrillo added.
Though McCain said he understands and sympathizes with the young people's situation, the Dream Act will not be separated from other immigration reform legislation.
"We're going to have to secure the borders first, and then enact comprehensive immigration, but the border has to be secured first," McCain said.
He also said he wants a guest worker program, and a way to deal with people who have been in the U.S. for a long time.
"Obviously, in cases where people have been here for many many many years that would be a path to citizenship, but they would still have to pay a penalty because they came illegally. It's not fair to people who came legally," McCain said.
Former Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman is hoping to win McCain's seat.
He says immigration reform will take a federal solution.
"We need to secure our border. We need to champion a guest worker program. We need to make sure there's a pathway for the 11 million undocumented individuals that are already here," Glassman said.
We made several attempts to contact McCain's Republican primary challenger J.D. Hayworth.
His office said he was campaigning in northern Arizona and they tried, but could not reach him.
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