But the young people crossing Monday had left the U.S., either voluntarily or through deportation, months, weeks or even just days before the deferred action announcement.
One of the protesters was Edna Flores, 22, of Hermosillo in Sonora state. She was taken by her family illegally to the U.S. when she was 6, but she voluntarily left Phoenix in January 2012 after deciding her options for finding work or continuing her education were limited after graduating from high school.
Flores, who found work in Mexico at a call center, took a 26-hour bus ride last week to Nuevo Laredo to join the group preparing for Monday’s protest march.
“I just want to be back with my family,” she said before they were taken into custody.