NATOMAS, CA - At the Mexican Consulate General in Natomas on Wednesday afternoon, Jose Torres-Lopez of Winters reviewed his application for temporary legal status in the United States, it would give him relief from deportation for two years.
For Torres-Lopez, deferred action means opportunity.
"The government is acknowledging that people, (who) stay within the law even though they don't have papers and stuff like that, have a chance to go to school," said Torres-Lopez, who moved to the United States from Mexico illegally at 12-years-old.
His family fled Mexico after his mother was sexually assaulted and his father was kidnapped for ransom.
"I don't remember Mexico that much at all. I have no recollection," Torres-Lopez said. "All I remember is the bad things that people tell me. Whenever I look at pictures I don't even recognize half of the stuff that I see."
At least 400,000 young Mexicans living in California could benefit under this deferred action that was ordered by President Obama.
"These people have established roots in this country," Mexican Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez said. "They have lived here for 15, 20 years and they have had to live under the shadows with permanent sense of vulnerability that comes with the undocumented status."
The Mexican Consulate General's Office is helping people with the application process that requires numerous documents and a background check. Homeland Security will then review each application on a case-by-case basis. There's no guarantee and no timetable for approval and it's unknown how many immigrants will be approved.
"It's very exciting to see their hope and their enthusiasm and the possibility for them finally to get some relief," Gonzalez Gutierrez said.
Torres-Lopez is studying at Solano Community College. He wants to be a doctor.
"If things would have kept up the same way that they were in Mexico I don't think I would have been able to go to school and I love going to school," Torres-Lopez said.
Get more information on the application process here