WASHINGTON (AP) -- Less than two months before the Nov. 6 election, the Obama administration is announcing the first approvals in a controversial program that lets some young illegal immigrants avoid deportation and get work permits good for two years.
The government is notifying a small group of illegal immigrants who have applied for the deferred deportation program since it officially launched Aug. 15.
The first approvals come well ahead of the government's estimates that it would take several months to approve an application.
Roughly 72,000 people have applied for the program that congressional Republicans have decried as "backdoor amnesty."
Republicans and Democrats alike are competing for the Hispanic vote, which could be a key constituency in November.