WASHINGTON (AP) — Young illegal aliens are scrambling to get passports and other records in order as the Homeland Security Department starts accepting applications to allow them to avoid deportation and get work permits.
Homeland Security announced the details Tuesday of what documents illegal aliens would need to prove that they are eligible for the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The announcement came a day before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was set to begin letting people apply for the program.
Hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens potentially could benefit from the program, which President Barack Obama announced in June. The program is beginning just months before what promises to be a tight contest for the White House in which the Hispanic vote may play an important role.
Obama has come under fire from Hispanic voters and others who say he hasn't fulfilled a previous campaign promise to overhaul the nation's immigration laws. The policy change could stop deportations for more than 1 million young illegal aliens who would have qualified for the failed DREAM Act, formally the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, which Obama has supported in the past.