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First work permits sent to illegal immigrants under Obama program

September 12, 2012|By Brian Bennett

WASHINGTON -- The first work permits and deportation deferrals have been mailed to young illegal immigrants who applied under an Obama administration initiative that began last month.

More than 72,000 applications have been filed in the first weeks of the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, officials said. It's unclear how many have been approved so far.

“Following a thorough, individualized case review, [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service] has now begun notifying individuals of the determination on their deferral requests,” Peter Boogaard, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement.

The first approval letters should begin arriving this week.

Since the program began on Aug. 15, thousands of young illegal immigrants have attended workshops held by community organizations around the country to help families prepare the required paperwork.

Those who are approved will be permitted to work lawfully, and granted a deferral of possible deportation for at least two years.

To qualify, applicants must prove they are younger than 31 and arrived in the U.S. before turning 16. They also must meet education or military requirements.

More than 1.2 million young undocumented immigrants may qualify for the program, according to an estimate by the Migration Policy Institute, a think tank.

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brian.bennett@latimes.com

@ByBrianBennett

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