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Locals React To President Obama’s Sweeping Change In Immigration Policy

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President Barack Obama (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

President Barack Obama (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — For college graduate Leslie Osegueda the sky is the limit. At least it is now.

She was always looking over her shoulder, wondering if her dream life in the United States would turn into a nightmare.

“It’s one of those fears you face. When you go to a train station, when you fly on an airplane, even when you get stopped by a cop. You have the constant fear of being deported.”

No more.

Today, President Obama issued an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to stop deporting young immigrants who entered the US as children.

The President defended the policy change during an afternoon press conference. “They are Americans, in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one…on paper.”

The President’s order covers undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who arrived in the US before the age of 16. They either have to be in school, have a high school diploma or have served in the military. They must also have no criminal record.

The President said he was forced to act because Congress could not. After agreeing on various components of the so-called Dream Act — on both sides of the aisle — President Obama said today he was frustrated that “politics” got in the way.

A new Gallop poll says the President has a huge lead among Latino voters over Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee. And many in the GOP saw this move by the President as a cynical way to keep that support high.

For students like Leslye Osegueda, politics or not, it’s a huge step forward for the country and its immigration policy.

“This is the best graduation gift anyone can receive,” she told Carter Evans reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9. “You know the ability to contribute back to this country.”

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