The Obama administration will kick off one of the most sweeping changes in immigration policy in decades Wednesday, allowing an estimated 1.7 million young undocumented immigrants to apply for the temporary right to live and work openly in the United States without fear of deportation.

Immigrants have waited for final details of the plan in the two months since President Obama pledged to brush aside years of congressional stalemate over the Dream Act and grant de facto residency to qualified immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

On Tuesday, officials surprised advocacy groups by posting the application forms online one day early. Advocates across the country are planning to hold workshops Wednesday for hundreds of immigrants eager to learn who will qualify and how to apply.

Families have been scrambling to assemble school records, utility bills and other documents that may be needed, they said.

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