The Obama administration kicked off one of the most sweeping changes in immigration policy in decades Wednesday, accepting applications from young illegal immigrants for the temporary right to live and work openly in the United States without fear of deportation.
An estimated 1.7 million young people who arrived in the United States illegally as children could qualify for the new Department of Homeland Security program, and thousands are expected to pay the $465 application fee for a “deferred action” permit that would protect them from deportation for at least two years. Many began lining up earlier this week at their native countries’ embassies and consulates to get passports and other records needed to apply.
Immigrants have waited for final details of the plan in the two months since President Obama pledged to brush aside years of congressional stalemate over the Dream Act and grant de facto residency to qualified immigrants.
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