U.S. immigration authorities have determined that seven of the DREAM 9 activists detained in Arizona have grounds to fear persecution if they are returned to Mexico, representatives of the detainees said Tuesday.

The National Immigrant Youth Alliance's Mohammed Abdolahi told Efe that they are shortly expecting to receive the same notification regarding the other two cases.

This is the first legal step in the process of requesting political asylum, which means that now the case will be heard by an immigration judge, who will issue a final ruling regarding the future of the nine undocumented activists, all of whom are of Mexican origin.

The activists entered the United States from Mexico on July 22 at the Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona, and requested humanitarian parole as "DREAMers" - so called for the proposed DREAM Act that would legalize undocumented youths who were brought to the country as children - who should never have been deported or forced to leave.

The legal team representing the DREAM 9, who are being held at Arizona's Eloy Detention Center, requested that the young people be released while their immigration case is under way.

Three of the nine were approved for the Deferred Action program, which offers a reprieve from deportation and a work permit but does not allow the migrant to leave the United States and return.

The other six previously had been deported or had left the country voluntarily after the approval of harsh state immigration laws like Arizona's SB 1070.

This is the situation of Adriana Diaz, who had lived in Phoenix since she was 4 months old and last year decided to return to Mexico to try and continue her higher education four months before Deferred Action was announced. EFE