On Thursday morning 19-year-old undocumented student Alejandro Guizar was still in the midst of deportation proceedings.
By mid-afternoon Friday, he says he's more hopeful than ever that he'll be able to remain the US and put the college degree he's seeking to use.
President Obama announced that effective immediately, the U.S. would stop deporting some younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
Guizar came to the United States when he was 10-years-old. His parents brought him over on a tourist visa.
He enrolled as a fifth-grader at Rocky Hill Elementary School in Knox County and today is a student at Pellissippi State Community College.
While walking home from a high school gradation party last year, Guizar says he was arrested for public intoxication.
While waiting in jail, he says his status came to the attention of Homeland Security and they initiated deportation proceedings.
But for many years before that, he says he had to lie to everyone he knew.
"You're raised to believe that you cant' tell anybody what you are," says Guizar. He had to invent reasons for being unable to get a job or a drivers license.
But now he says he's more open.
The president's policy is only applicable to immigrants brought to the US before they turned 16 and who are currently younger than 30.
They must have been in the country for at least five years, have no criminal history, and graduated from a US high school or have served in the military.
Guizar's legal case is still making it's way through the system. He says he's never been convicted of anything, and hopes to get the charges against him dropped.
"I have an opportunity to stay in this country. I have the opportunity to work," says Guizar.
But some Tennessee lawmakers say that's exactly the problem.
State Senator Doug Overbey says the president has created greater competition for American jobs.
"Tennessee has gone a long way toward job creation, but now the president has created a class of folks that are here illegally that will be competing with legal residents for jobs," says Overbey.
He says the debate over whether children who came to the US illegally should stay shouldn't begin and end at the president's podium.
"I think it's very unfortunate that the president has decided to some would say usurp, I would say side-step the US Congress," says Overbey.
In his speech Friday the president called his executive order, "the right thing to do."
And Guizar says he hopes to do right by the US.
"I hope to benefit America by joining the US Army and protecting the beliefs of freedom and democracy that I have," says Guizar.