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Immigrant uses Xbox Live record to gain residency

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A crowd attends a deferred action meeting (Credit: Getty Images)

Jose Muñoz came to the U.S. illegally when he was a one-year-old – but today, he's a legal resident. And it's all thanks to his love of video games.

For the past three years, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has given people who immigrated illegally as children the opportunity to obtain legal residency, allowing them to work and purchase property in the U.S. The catch? Applicants have to be able to show residency since 2007.

That was a problem for Muñoz, who came to the U.S. with his parents when he was 1 and moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin with his family in the third grade. Munoz had no school or work records showing that residency. He did have an Xbox 360, though, and thanks to some clever thinking by his attorney, that was enough.

Unable to work after he finished school in 2005, Muñoz, who graduated with honors, spent a lot of time playing games. Microsoft keeps pretty good records of its users, monitoring both his purchases and the physical address tied to his Xbox Live account.

"It dawned on me that he may have some record of the games he had purchased or something that shows he's been here since 2007," said Muñoz's attorney Davorin Odrcic. "He sent me the proof of this that had his address, his account information and proof of all the games he had downloaded or purchased since 2007. It worked perfectly to establish that he's been here continuously."

It took two months of agonized waiting for Muñoz to learn his fate (denials cannot be appealed), but eventually the government agreed that the records were sufficient proof and granted him deferred status.

Now 25, Muñoz currently has two jobs. He finally has a driver's license and a car. He works seven days a week and is thinking about going to college.

What he's not doing, though, is playing games.

"I've been crazy busy," he says.

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