Hundreds gather outside consulates seeking residency

Lines wrapped around building, police direct traffic

HOUSTON - Hundreds of people in Houston waited in line for hours Tuesday for a dream they said they could not afford to pass up -- the chance to stay in this country legally.

The line at the Mexican consulate was wrapped around the building. The crowd was so big that Houston police were called in to direct traffic and keep everyone waiting in line calm.

A plan being called the most expansive immigration relief policy in 25 years begins Wednesday.

"It means I won't be scared anymore to go out and work wherever I can and get more scholarships at school that I didn't get because I didn't have Social Security," said Gabriella Ramirez.

The plan, announced by president Barack Obama, gives young illegal immigrants a change to apply for work permits and go to school. Some critics have called the plan backdoor amnesty.

While not fully the DREAM Act, Ramirez said this is what she has prayed for since coming to the United States illegally with her parents.

"I'm 20 years old now. I've been here since 8 years old in 1999. I don't know any other country but the U.S. and Houston," she said.

Long lines also formed at the El Salvadoran consulate.

The deferred action program is open to undocumented immigrants 30 years and younger who came to the U.S. before the age of 16. Those going through the process have to prove they have five years of education or military service.

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