ATLANTA - A 22-year-old Kennesaw State University student who faces deportation joined nine other latino students Thursday saying they should be given a chance to become U.S. citizens.
Jessica Colotl's parents brought her from Mexico when she was only 11, but following a March traffic stop, the KSU senior was arrested and ordered sent back to her native country after she graduates next spring.
Thursday afternoon she and nine other college students, wearing caps and gowns, spoke out in support of the proposed federal Dream Act at a news conference sponsored by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights.
H.R. 1751 would allow people who came here illegally before age 16 to go though a six year conditional citizenship program as long as they complete two years of college or a minimum of two years in the U.S. military.
"I've lived an American dream and I'm hoping that actually comes true again," Colotl said.
On Sunday she and college students from 27 states will go to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress to pass the Dream Act.
"Let us come out of the shadows. Let us contribute. Let us dream," said fellow student Elvis Hernandez.
But anti-illegal immigration activists say the Dream Act would open the floodgates to more than just college students.
"The Dream Act would extend to people as old as 35-years-old," says D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society.
"Upon being legalized, these people would then sponsor their parents and then their parents could sponsor their family," King says.
"It would increase our already overloaded immigration system," he claims.
Speaking at the Dream Act rally, former Atlanta Mexican Consul and latino activist Teodoro Maus first seemed to imply that those who oppose it are racist.
"The cost of not allowing our children to study is so large that only truly racist people will prefer to pay that price than to allow our children to study," Maus said.
When 11 Alive News asked if he meant that all Dream Act opponents are racists, Maus backed down.
"No, I didn't say that anybody that opposes this is racist," he replied.
"It's also used by racists to promote hatred," Maus added.
Legislation similar to the 2009 Dream Act has been floating around Congress for nearly a decade.
This particular bill is now in committee and despite President Obama's recent push for immigration reform, is stuck in committee.
Jessica Colotl's case had become a lightning rod in the immigration debate, especially in Georgia.
On Wednesday the state university system admitted that about 100 or more of the 300,000 students in Georgia's 35 state colleges may be illegal.
They are allowed to attend a state college, but must pay out-of-state tuition.
That policy has become a hot-button issue for many conservative candidates in this year's elections.