Immigrants rush for paperwork

ATLANTA -- The consulate of Guatemala was a busy place Friday-- filled with people like Miguel Perez and his wife Glendy.

"I want to live here in the USA. It's great," Miguel Perez said.

Perez, who illegally relocated from Guatemala to Georgia a decade ago, is anxious to get right with the US government-- now that President Obama has given him a way to do it.

"Obama (Thursday) night, what he said, we're quite excited about that," Perez said.

Because Perez has a son born in the US, he was among the dozens of Guatemalans at the Atlanta consulate getting the paperwork that's now available to allow his family to stay.

"Of course, having the authorization to live here is a relief for them," said Rosa Maria Merida de Mora, Consul General of Guatemala. She says she expects hundreds of applications in the next few days.

"This fear of deportation, the families being split up, not being able to work and take care of their families--this program provides some temporary relief to that," said Jeffrey Tapia, executive director of the Latin American Association in Atlanta.

It would ease the mind of Jose Sanchez, who also immigrated illegally from Guatemala ten years ago.

"In Guatemala, over there, it's not easy to find a job. And here it's easier to find a job," Sanchez said, while waiting at the consulate of Guatemala for paperwork.

Sanchez now has two US born daughters-- and may be able to stop worrying about deportation.

"When we go to work, we never know if somebody stops us and asks us if we're illegal or not," Sanchez said. "So it's big."

Yet immigration advocates stress, it's likely only temporary given America's political climate.


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