Several hundred students at Fresno State woke up Friday to news they have wanted to hear for quite sometime. The government's latest move means many don't have to worry about being uprooted from all they've ever known. And for some, it was a monumental announcement.
Pedro Ramirez is just one of several thousand students whose lives changed.
"To us, it's like a dream come true, almost there. Though, halfway, I think," Ramirez said.
Ramirez became a figure in the debate over illegal immigration and education several years ago. After he was elected student body president at Fresno State in 2010 his immigration status was outed.
290 students who attended the university this past spring semester are, like Ramirez, undocumented. Many are his friends, like Adriana Sanchez.
"It was just a very exciting moment, I started singing and dancing. It brings a lot of hope for ourselves, for a brighter future and for our families," Sanchez said.
The president's order will ultimately make life less stressful for many students and graduates. Since immigrants are not eligible for student loans or grants, many students say they must work extra hard to reach their goals.
"That's one of the things that gives me hope, is even without the American government recognizing our accomplishments, we're still succeeding. Now it just gives us a little more breathing room to build on that and contribute even more," Ramirez said.
"A lot of the people here at Fresno State, we have engineers who are undocumented. We have pre-law students who are undocumented, pre-doctor students who are undocumented, all these students will contribute to the country," Sanchez said.
Raul Moreno is the Migrant Services Coordinator at Fresno State.
Moreno says many students who are in the country illegally, wonder if their education will matter, if they end up getting deported. Friday's announcement was a major relief.
"This is simply going to do what is humanly right, allow the students to be who they are without fear of our government," Moreno said.
Many undocumented students hope the temporary decision encourages lawmakers to pass legislation, that would allow comprehensive immigration reform, and provide students with permanent residency.
The guidelines take effect immediately, but those who meet the criteria must apply within 60 days for temporary residency.