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Posted: 3:54 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013
By Torie Wells
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Eighteen-year-old Estefania Ventura Arrazola showed Eyewitness News snapshots of her life in the United States. Although she was born in Mexico she said she only remembers her time here. "For me I feel like this is my country because I've been here my whole life," she said.
Over the summer President Barack Obama announced a plan to allow some undocumented young people to stay and work in the United States through deferred action and employment authorization.Arrazola said for months she put her paperwork together for both applications showing she came here when she was 5, has lived here for years and graduated high school. Right before Christmas, she received a letter setting an appointment for her biographic and biometric background checks. Once those are done, her case will be reviewed. She can be asked to provide more information or be approved. "I'm praying then I will get my permit or license or hopefully both," said Arrazola. The Latin American Coalition said it has seen hundreds of people come through its doors hoping for the same thing and has helped put approximately 200 applications together. It said so far it has had one approved and it is expecting more in the coming months. It said it is a step forward for many. "People working, people paying taxes, going to school, getting more education," said Armando Bellmas of the Latin American Coalition. Arrazola said that is exactly what she hopes for. She said a work permit would allow her to pay to go to college to study political science, "and live my life like I first thought I would," she said. Those who are approved have to reapply in two years. The Latin American Coalition said it hopes reapplications aren't even needed. The group is pushing for comprehensive immigration reform again this year.
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