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August 15th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Five things to know about the big change in immigration policy

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting requests Wednesday for consideration of deferred action for young undocumented immigrants who arrived in America as children.

Here are five things you should know about the bold change announced by President Barack Obama in June:

1. What is it?

The policy is a "temporary" measure that allows eligible immigrants to apply for work permits and deportation deferral for a two-year period. Supporters stress it does not grant immunity or a provide a shortcut to citizenship but affords undocumented immigrant children a chance to be productive workers - with a promise they won't be deported for two years. Opponents see the policy as granting backdoor amnesty to people who came to America illegally and tightening an already poor job market for young Americans.

2. Who is eligible?

As many as 1.7 million youths may qualify for the program, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. To be eligible to apply, you must have arrived in America when you were 16 or younger and must be under 30 now. You must also have lived continuously in the United States for five years and must be currently in school or already graduated from high school or have served in the military. You cannot apply if you have been convicted of a felony or major misdemeanor.

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