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Special Project: America's Wall: Decades-Long Struggle To Secure US-Mexico Border

Reprieves For Young Undocumented Immigrants Start Trickling In

Ana Mendoza applied for President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Last week, she received her federal ID card.

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Last week Ana Mendoza got something she'd never had: recognition from the federal government.

— Since she was 2 years old, Ana Mendoza, an undocumented immigrant, has lived in fear of the federal government.

But the 24-year-old applied for President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program a week after the government started accepting applications in August. The program exempts from deportation many young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and allows them to get jobs.

Last week, Mendoza got the envelope she’d been waiting for. Inside was a shiny federal ID card. Recognition.

“It was really overwhelming. I haven’t really processed it,” she said.

Mendoza started thinking about the doors that little card was going to open for her.

“I can give that to an employer and it says I am legally allowed to work here in the United States.”

Almost immediately, the Cal State Los Angeles graduate started sending her resume to public relations firms.

“I kind of had a sense of, OK, now I have to hurry, and find a job, and show that I do want to stay here and work, and be a good member of society.”

Within two days, she’d scheduled four interviews. And by the end of the week, she’d had three, and gotten two callbacks. She’s crossing their fingers that they’ll turn into job offers.

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