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Executive order to help one young immigrant realize dream

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Last month, we mentioned President Obama's executive order that allows young immigrants to remain and work in the country for two years--and perhaps longer--if they meet certain requirements. That order is already having an effect on the life of one young man in Maryland.

The 19-year-old immigrant had arrived in the U.S. with his parents more than 10 years ago. He had grown up here, gone to school here and come of age here. After high school, he had entered college and nurtured a goal of eventually becoming a doctor. But his family had entered the country illegally, making sudden deportation a very real possibility. And in March, it appeared that the family's time had come.

Federal immigration authorities took them into custody, and the family spent nearly a week in jail, waiting for deportation proceedings. But then relief arrived. With the backing of a Maryland Congressman and others active in politics and the community, the family was released from custody. Immigration authorities indicated that they could still be deported next year, but for the moment they will remain here.

The 19-year-old student, however, now aims to qualify for the two-year reprieve offered by the executive order. Although it provides no path to U.S. citizenship, it does allow illegal immigrants who meet certain age requirements and other qualifications to stay and work here. After the two-year period expires, immigrants may reapply for renewal.

Commenting on the effect of the executive order, the young man said, "It just makes my goals real, where before I just had a sketched up plan of what could happen."

Source: CBS News, "Deportation fears subside for young Hispanics," Chad Sinclair, July 11, 2012.

• Immigration law is complex and presents many challenges to those seeking to live and work in the U.S. If you would like to learn more about our firm's practice, please visit our Maryland family immigration page.

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