1.7 million can defer deportation

Updated Aug. 14, 2012 at 2:40 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Officials said about 1.7 million undocumented immigrants could be allowed to work and live openly in the United States after applying for a temporary reprieve.

President Obama's initiative, put into place by executive order after Congress failed to pass the Dream Act, would grant temporary two-year stays of deportation for young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States when they were children.

The initiative, unveiled in June, will officially start Wednesday, when federal immigration agencies will begin accepting requests to defer deportation.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a release Tuesday instructing applicants on the forms to file and where to file them.

"The release of the new form and instructions to allow individuals to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS marks an important step in our implementation of this new process," said Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

Officials are expecting to be inundated with the most paperwork since 1986, when more than 3 million undocumented immigrants were granted amnesty.

Noe Torres, 26, has been living in the United States illegally since he was 4. "It's like giving us wings to the people that want to fly," he told The New York Times.

The non-partisan Migration Policy Institute estimates about 1.2 million foreign-born people are eligible for reprieves, and another 500,000 children are approaching the minimum eligibility age of 15 in coming years. California carries the bulk of the number with about 460,000 eligible people, while there are likewise sizable populations in Florida, New York and Texas.

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