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Young illegal immigrants in L.A. cheer Obama on Dream Act

June 15, 2012 |  8:43 am

 Justino Mora and dozens of Dream Act advocates heard about the Obama administration’s decision to grant relief to young illegal immigrants Friday morning while they were preparing to attend a rally to push the administration for just such a change.

Mora, 22, an undocumented student who attends UCLA, said he was skeptical at first.

“At the beginning I sort of didn’t believe it,” he said, “but then almost immediately I was overwhelmed by a sense of joy. It gives me hope, it motivates me to continue fighting for my family, for my community.”

Ricardo Muniz, 24, was en route to the rally when he got the news.

"I can breathe," he said.

The morning rally set to take place in front of the downtown federal building will now be part celebration as well as part advocation for Congress to give young illegal immigrants permanent relief, he said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Friday said the administration would stop deporting young immigrants who came to the U.S. as young children and who do not pose a security threat.

The change would allow illegal immigrants under the age of 30 and who meet certain criteria to stay and possibly work in the country under a deferred deportation which would last two years but could be renewed.

Those who are convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons and repeat offenders of immigration  law would not be eligible.


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-- Paloma Esquivel

Video: Young Dream Act advocates gather for a rally in downtown L.A. to celebrate Obama's announcement. Credit: Melissa Leu