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Undocumented immigrants will apply for work permits

August 7, 2012 9:15:00 PM PDT
Immigration officials are preparing for an avalanche of work permit applications. Next week as many as 50,000 undocumented immigrants in the Bay Area will be eligible to apply. ABC7 News interviewed one 15-year-old from San Jose. Her name is Lucia Vidal her parents smuggled her across the border from Mexico when she was 2 years old.

When she isn't working at the flea market this summer, Vidal is volunteering at the Californians For Justice office in San Jose. In a couple of weeks, she'll be back at Overfelt High School taking advanced placement history, and English literature, calculus, physics, and Spanish.

"It's sometimes kind of hard to manage the time, but I know things have to get done and I have to do them," said Vidal.

On her to do list is getting into Stanford and attending law school or studying to become a nurse or a doctor.

This week she shared her dream at a news conference in San Jose on President Barack Obama's Deferred Action program.

"This does not provide permanent legal status, but it does provide relief," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose.

What the president did last month was issue an executive order allowing undocumented people like Vidal to come out of the shadows and apply for a renewable two-year permit that will keep them from being deported.

"Again, my parents taught me that I have to be responsible," said Vidal.

The 15-year-old told us her parents are supporting her decision to apply knowing that it raises the risk they could be found out and deported. Vidal admits she's thought about that risk a few times, but coming close to tears, she said she doesn't want to think about that. It's too scary. However, her parents told her the chance to be here with permission, to go to college and be able to apply for financial help, and have a legal job is worth the risk.

"We have to stop being afraid and that starts with me, myself not being afraid anymore," said Vidal.

The details of who is eligible and what's required are all available on the federal government's immigration website.

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