Two New York City teens who live in fear of deportation were overjoyed when President Obama announced an order granting young, "undocumented" immigrants the right to stay in the country.
Erika Bret, a 19-year-old freshman at La Guardia Community College from Puebla, Mexico, was smuggled over the border using fake documents four years ago to join her mother in Queens.
Her mom had moved here years earlier, leaving Bret with her grandmother.
Bret enrolled at Pan-American International HS, and was able to realize her wish to attend a US college. She wants to be a graphic designer with her own business.
But she has watched her mom -- who works at a clothing store and is paid off the books while her husband packs boxes -- struggle to stay under the radar.
"She doesn't like to go out because she is afraid," Bret said of her mom's concerns about being deported.
Meanwhile, Bret has been unable to help out financially for fear of being caught working illegally. Nor has she dared to return to the country where she was born, as she may not be able to return to her family without US residency papers.
She has seen three younger siblings -- Jared, Dayanara and Jeremy, all born in the US -- become American citizens.
"They can get help from the government," she said, noting that two of them receive speech therapy. "I want to be the one who helps them, too. Now I can. I'm going to help them a lot."
Wilian Mejia, 18, of Richmond Hill, Queens, arrived in New York from Honduras several years ago. He said the Obama moratorium on deporting younger, undocumented immigrants gives him a new lease on life.
"You live, like in the shadows," Mejia said. "You don't want everybody to know you're undocumented. Now I don't feel as scared anymore."
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