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DREAM Act Eligible Youth Ready for the Armed Forces


Nelly — Texas

Nelly came to the U.S. at nine years old with her parents who wanted to provide her with a better life.  She went on to graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA, was elected class president, and even served as Cadet Commander of her high school’s ROTC program – all while holding a  job to support her family.

 “I took the military entrance exam and got very high scores. I was set to get a good job in the army,” she said, “but when it came time to submit my documentation, I couldn’t go any further.”

Yahaira Carrillo — Kansas City, MO

Yahaira is an undocumented immigrant from Guerrero, Mexico who has lived in Missouri since she was 8 years old.  After graduating in the top of her high school class, she is currently working towards her Bachelor’s degree.  Yahaira had hoped to enter the U.S. Marines, but left the ROTC program after realizing she wouldn’t be able to pursue a career in the military.

Cesar Vargas — New York, NY 

Cesar grew up in Brooklyn, graduated from high school and then college. Now, he’s in his third year in law school.  “My dream is to serve in the military as a JAG officer or on the front line as an intelligence officer to lead Marines. I want to earn my place next to the great heroes of our nation that have and are fighting to defend our Constitution.”  Passing the DREAM Act would enable Cesar, who considers himself an American in all but paperwork, the opportunity to fully give back to the country he considers home.

Gaby Pacheco — Miami, FL

Gaby, 25, was brought to this country from Ecuador at age 7. In 2006, immigration agents raided her family home, and they have been fighting deportation since. Nonetheless, she has earned two associates degrees and is working on her BA in special education. A born leader, Gaby has served as president of the student government as well as for the statewide Junior Community College Student Government Association. She is a founder of Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER), an organization advocating on behalf of undocumented youth.  In her high school, Gaby was the highest ranked Junior ROTC student and scored highest on the military’s vocational aptitude test. No wonder the Air Force tried to recruit her. Her status prevented her from serving.

Ruth L. — Los Angeles, CA

Ruth came to the United States in 1992, graduated from high school and is currently a student at UCLA.  If the DREAM Act were to pass, Ruth is interested in pursuing a career as a U.S. Army officer. 

By her sophomore year in high school, Ruth was the Battalion Commander in her school with a place in the All City Staff.  By the time she went into her senior year she was already holding the rank of Cadet Colonel (the highest rank in the district) – becoming the first Hispanic/Latina Female to hold the rank and position of All City Colonel.  Ruth says, “If I would have been given the chance I would have joined the military out of high school and/or applied to attend West Point.”

David Cho  – Los Angeles, CA 

David is a senior studying International Economic and Korean at UCLA who wishes to join the Air Force upon graduation.  David is the first Korean to become the drum major of the UCLA Marching Band and would qualify for immigration status under the DREAM Act.  David was featured this week in the Wall Street Journal.