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Officials said in very rare cases illegal immigrants who are well below the federal poverty line can request an exemption from the $465 fee.

Cesar Vargas, a former law school student who would be eligible for the Dream Act, said the administration’s move was welcome, but not enough.

“Of course, the administrative directive is just the first step and we will keep pressuring both Democrats and Republicans to ensure a modern immigration process is enacted next year,” he said.