Outside of Houston's Mexican Consulate, more than a thousand stood, each seeking a document that could help change their lives.
"We are waiting for our passports. We want to get our passport because Obama might be asking for them. We don't know what the requirements are, but we want to get ahead and have all our documents ready for that time," said applicant Kristi Alarcon, who has lived in the US without documentation since girlhood.
That "time" begins Wednesday when young people brought to this country illegally by their parents can apply for protection from deportation and a work permit under the president's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.
"To have a dream, to reach our goals, to be somebody," explained deportation deferral applicant Uriel Gaspar.
To qualify, young people must document their true identity with a passport or official ID card and then provide evidence they've lived in the US much of their lives.
"They have to prove who they really are and of course many of these people underground have assumed false identities. The sooner they get their application in, the sooner they can begin work legally," said Richard Sindelar, professor of International Relations at the University of St. Thomas and former State Department Official
Thus the urgency. Tuesday was to be the last day the Mexican Consulate in Houston would receive passport applications without an appointment.
With hundreds still waiting un-served, that plan has changed.
"It's more than we expected, so we are trying to do is give them some appointments for the next days so they can come," said Maria Ramirez, spokeswoman for the Mexican Consulate.
If allowed, many may simply remain in their spots. They say it's a small price to pay when you've waited much of your life to "live legal".
The deferred deportations are not permenant. Successful applicants must re-apply after two years.