When Saul graduated high school he knew he wanted to go to college.
But when trying to apply for financial aid he was denied and sunk into a state of depression.
â€œStudents like me see signs that say â€˜Financial Aid. Apply nowâ€™ but we canâ€™t apply. I was depressed,â€ Saul said. â€œI felt like I couldnâ€™t go to college.â€
Saul is just one of the many undocumented students attending Cal State Fullerton.
Like many undocumented students, Saul began working as soon as he got out of high school. He saved his money and with support and help from his parents, Saul was able to attend CSUF and use his own money to pay for books.
â€œNot every student is as fortunate as me. I know a girl who had to work two jobs and she also had a baby,â€ Saul said.
Due to their legal status, undocumented students are not eligible for educational funding such as financial aid.
The bipartisan Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, well known as the DREAM Act, will allow for about 2.6 million undocumented immigrants to start their path to legal residency, as well as allow for undocumented students to qualify for financial aid and other California public school scholarships.
Undocumented students would become eligible after they attend college or serve in the military for two years.
About 26 percent of those reside in California.
Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada announced that he would attach the act to the military spending bill with a proposal to open a pathway for undocumented students.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Reid had promised that the DREAM Act would constitute the first amendment to the Defense bill.
Yesterday, the bill was stalled at the senate and was not moved to a floor vote.
The billâ€™s vote was 56 to 53. A total of 60 votes were needed.
â€œI think thereâ€™s still a lot of different ways (the bill) can pass before November,â€ said William Perez, associate professor of education at Claremont Graduate University.
Perez, who is also the author of We Are Americans: Undocumented Students pursuing the American Dream, believes that the controversial components of the bill had an effect on the voting outcome and that those issues complicated the bill.
An issue included in the bill, that is considered to be controversial, is a provision to repeal the â€œdonâ€™t ask donâ€™t tellâ€ policy.
Perez also believes that because the bill was attached to the Defense bill, it might have swayed senators to vote against it because they did not believe all of the issues the bill was composed of.
â€œIn previous inductions of the DREAM Act, it has been attached to the Defense bill, which was in 2007,â€ Perez said.
The DREAM Act has been around for about a decade. It last went to Congress in 2007 and was shy of eight votes, making the vote 52, instead of the needed 60.
â€œSen. Bennet of Utah changed his mind and supported the DREAM Act, not the Defense bill,â€ Perez said.
Sen. Bob Bennet was one of the senators against the bill before he switched positions.
Senators opposing the bill include Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.
Alliance of Students for an Equal Education had been urging students to call those opposing senators to ask them to vote in favor of the bill.
At an Associated Students Inc. meeting yesterday, CSUF student Diego Gutierrez shared his feelings on the DREAM Act.
Gutierrez asked those in attendance at the meeting to call Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggerâ€™s Riverside County office and ask him to support the bill.
Gutierrez was disappointed when he found out about the billâ€™s vote.
â€œI am an undocumented student and I have been in this country since I was 8 years old,â€ said Gutierrez, who is actively involved with CSUFâ€™s ASEE. â€œI am afraid to go back to the country I was born because itâ€™s a place I don’t really know much about anymore and one I don’t relate to anymore.â€
Both Gutierrez and Saul feel that they should be recognized as Americans because they have lived in the U.S. for a majority of their lives.
â€œI think people are missing the point (of the DREAM Act),â€ Gutierrez said. â€œMany of these people are more patriotic than the average citizen.â€
With the bill not making its way up to Congressional vote, Perez says there is a perception that America does not care about the act.
â€œThe fact that it was not moved to a floor vote does not represent that there was a lack of support for the act,â€ Perez said. â€œThere is support.â€