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Deferred action offers 'dreamers' a chance to change their lives

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Updated: 8/30/2013 10:39 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Dreamers are the more than half a million young undocumented immigrants who applied for deferred action between August 2012 and July 2013.

That's according to U.S. citizenship and immigration services. News 3's Fatima Rahmatullah spoke to a valley man to see how deferred action changed his life.

“I call this place home I grew up here and this is the only country I'd like to be in,” said dreamer Juan Salazar.

One year later has completely changed his life.

Salazar is from Guadalajara, Mexico. He crossed the border with his parents when he was only seven and has been living in the shadows since then.

“It was difficult because you have all your friends getting driver’s licenses and getting all these jobs and becoming independent one way or another and then here you have someone who is undocumented their parents are afraid for their children to be exposed,” Salazar said adding there were times where he felt like he didn't have any options in a country he only knew.

“I would get to a point where I'd be like what's the point I'm going to school but for what because sometimes you wouldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel but I never lose hope,” he said.

Last year in June, President Barack Obama introduced the deferred action for childhood arrivals. - a temporary program that offers work permits to immigrants with no criminal record and more than 400,000 applications nationwide were approved. For Salazar, the program gave him hope.

“We don't come here to harm we just want to work and live here and make a living and be somebody for ourselves. That's why our parents brought us here in the first place,” Salazar said.

In Nevada alone more than 9,000 people have applied for the program, 6,500 of those applicants have received their work permits.

Salazar started his own business called Quality Pool Maintenance. He has business license and is certified as a pool technician.

UNLV political science professor David Damore says at the local and state there is an increase in cost but it helps the government at the federal level.

“At the Federal level it's actually a benefit because these people are working and paying Social Security and paying in Medicare, chances are, because their not citizens they will not get those benefits that's actually helping fill the holes.”
Salazar says this is still a temporary solution.

“I call this place home I grew up here but it feels like you know we're still limited it's a good step it's a right step they helped us out in one way but it's still showing that we're still different,” Salazar said.

-- Fatima Rahmatullah, KSNV News 3
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