DREAM Act vote expected today; 'Dream Army' still hoping to change McCain's mind

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on a defense bill that includes the DREAM Act.

Sen. Jon McCain's opposition of the bill has sparked a protest outside his Phoenix office. DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act supporters, now calling themselves the "Dream Army,"  are hoping to change the senator's mind.

Dozens of students have been camped outside McCain's office for nearly a week, encouraging the senator vote vote yes on the DREAM Act.

Under the act, undocumented students who graduate from U.S. high schools and have been in the country continuously for at least five years would be eligible for a six-year conditional path to citizenship if they meet certain college requirements or serve two years in the military.

While critics call the DREAM Act unfair amnesty, supporters say it's a buy-in into the country.

Under the act, more than 100,000 young undocumented Arizona students could qualify for potential citizenship.

Carlos Saavedra, national coordinator of United We Dream, a coalition of student immigrant advocacy groups, said voters who care about the issue will be watching how senators vote on the bill.

"Folks are literally dropping their lives right now to work on this," Saavedra said Thursday. "This is one of our last chances to get some justice to the immigrant community and immigrant youth. It's huge."

Slightly different versions of the DREAM Act have been bouncing around Congress since 2001.