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Immigration rights and DREAM Act supporters cheered outside the White House Friday afternoon, after the Obama Administration announced that it will stop deportations on young lawful immigrants, 30 years old or younger.
"It is not immunity; it is not amnesty. It is an exercise of discretion," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said during a press briefing.
More than 800,000 students will be impacted by this policy change, according to the Associated Press as reported by NPR.
The supporters cheering in response to Obama's announcement included Latinos, Asians, Africans, Arabs, and a number of other ethnicities.
"This changed my life because now I feel like I have a greater chance to remain in this country and contribute back to my society," says one supporter, who asked not to be named.
This change in status means that thousands of Maryland students will qualify for in-state college tuition, even if the DREAM Act is repealed in the November's referendum.
"I found this announcement to be both disturbing and troubling," says Del. Neil Parrot (R-Md.), who spearheads the DREAM Act repeal drive. "President Obama swore to uphold the constitution and the laws of our country, and with this decision, he's decided he's not going to enforce existing U.S. immigration policy."