Some 1.7 million young illegal immigrants are poised to come out of the shadows and live and work openly in the United States as a result of a sweeping executive order signed by President Barack Obama. On Wednesday immigration officials will begin accepting applications to defer deportations, The New York Times
Obama’s executive order sidestepped a Congress that failed to pass the DREAM Act and was a major peace offering to the Hispanic voters after the administration deported 1.2 million illegals in the last three years. The order grants two-year deportation deferrals, work permits, and other benefits such as a driver’s license and Social Security number to illegals brought to the United States as children.
Immigration rights groups have been swamped with requests for information on the program and government officials are expecting the biggest jump in paperwork since 3 million immigrants applied for legal status under a 1986 amnesty.
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that about 1.2 million people are eligible to apply now, with another 500,000 reaching the minimum eligibility age of 15 in coming years, the Times reported. The largest number of eligible applicants are in California, Florida, New York, and Texas.
The order does not give legal status or a path to citizenship, and those applying must be in school, be high school graduates, or have served honorably in the military. Those with criminal records will be rejected.
Hazar Parra, who came to the United States when she was 7, worried that her application might expose her mother to deportation. “My mom decided I should do it,” she told the Times. “Basically, for me to do better and succeed, she’s willing to risk everything.”
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