Local woman one of first approved for deferred action - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local woman one of first approved for deferred action

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PASCO, Wash. - President Obama announced back in June that certain eligible youth would not be deported under the deferred action plan.

Tri-Cities native, Ivone Guillen, has already been approved just four weeks after applying. Ivone's family moved from Mexico to the United States when she was five-years-old. She grew up in the Tri-Cities area, got a full ride scholarship to Gonzaga and now works for a non-profit organization in Washington D.C.

She's one of millions of undocumented immigrant youths but this past week she got something she'd only dreamed about.

"It's been more of like a surreal experience," said Guillen. "Where you want to believe that it's happening, wonder if it won't happen. But for me it was very much I can't believe it until I see that document in front of me."

Ivone got word of her approval Friday and her permit was in her hand by Monday. She's one of just 29 cases that have been approved so far. There are more than 100,000 applications pending.

"I've been waiting for these programs, I've been watching them and I knew exactly what was going to come down the pike and exactly what was going to pass and exactly what was needed. So we were ahead of the game," said immigration attorney Thomas Roach.

Roach helped Ivone with the process. He said while the deferred action plan isn't legal status for the immigrants, nor will the permits last longer than two years... it's a 'half step' in the right direction.

"This is something very positive for not only us, the young youth, but also for the broader community because it's going to allow us to give back the way we've wanted to," said Guillen. "We grew up to believe we could."

The future of the deferred action plan remains uncertain, however. If President Obama is re-elected he'll continue the program. But opposing presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, said he'll stop.

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