18-year old Maria Guerrero of Bloomington says she hopes to register for a new program to avoid deportation as soon as possible. Guerrero has been in the U-S since she was eight years old and says the federal signups that began Wednesday for people like her promise a dream.
"I'm starting college now and I see a big opportunity of being able to have a license, Social Security, able to drive, actually do a career and have a good job here."
Guerrero is starting at Heartland Community College in Normal and wants to be a teacher or a psychiatrist. Till now that has been a fantasy, but she says the program could eventually make education financially worth having.
"Like in the hope that one day I can actually do a career and not be like have a degree but I'm still working in a restaurant with minimum wage."
The program is for children of undocumented immigrants who have been in the U-S so long they are basically assimilated into American culture. It is not being billed as a path to citizenship. For the present, Guerrero says it would make life easier.
"At least I could be able to drive without any fear. There would be someone in the house that could like take us to simple things such as go groceries without any problems and take my nephew to places."
President Barack Obama authorized the policy after attempts at passing similar legislation failed. Obama's been criticized by immigrant groups for not doing enough to address the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. It's estimated the policy could affect more than 1 million undocumented immigrants.
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