An Indian American pre-medical student and her mother facing deportation to India for staying in the US illegally have received a last-minute reprieve and were allowed to stay back temporarily to appeal the order.
Mandeep Chahal,who just finished her second year at the University of California-Davis,and her mother Jagdish Kaur,a homemaker,received a temporary stay on deportation by the Department of Homeland Security on June 21.
Chahal,20,entered the US with her mother in 1997,but did not find out she was undocumented until she was 15.
Jagdish Kaur filed for political asylum in 1998,but following a six-year backlog,failed to show up at a hearing in 2003 and was denied asylum.
A judge then ordered Kaur to be deported. She was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in 2010,while on her way to a doctor¿s
appointment,and held in detention.
Kaur was released shortly afterwards for medical reasons,but both she and Chahal wore ankle monitors for a while so that ICE could track their movements.
Over the weekend,friends and advocates launched a last-minute social media campaign to halt Mountain View resident Mandeep Chahal’s deportation,which was scheduled for Wednesday.
Chahal,studying neurology,physiology and behaviour at UC Davis,has lived in the Bay area since she was 6 years old.
The campaign resulted in more than 3,000 faxes being sent to members of Congress and the Obama administration.
If anyone we know is going to be sent out of the United States,the last person it should be is Mandeep Chahal, said best friend Julia Duperrault,who has known Chahal since they were middle school classmates in Los Altos.
I want to thank everyone who has embraced our story and spoken out on behalf of my mother and me. My family will be at home tonight,together,because of you, said Chahal in a statement on her Facebook page.
This morning,my mother and I were taken into custody at the ICE office in San Francisco.
We were there less than two hours before ICE decided to grant us a temporary stay and release us. I have no doubt that their decision was a direct result of your faxes and calls to the Obama administration, she said,adding,”I cannot begin to tell you how much it means. Your activism could help create an America where no family has to go through what mine has.”
Kalpana Peddibhotla,representing Chahal and Kaur,said that they still face an uphill battle to remain in the US.
It is unclear how long their temporary stay on deportation will remain valid. Chahal and Kaur had already been placed in federal custody when Peddibhotla filed an emergency request to put the deportation on hold.
An immigration board of appeals denied the request but immigration agents then decided on their own to release the pair,who were scheduled to catch a 1 am flight back to India.
ICE director John Morton issued a memo June 17,outlining new guidelines that allow officials to use prosecutorial discretion in determining who to deport.
Morton advised federal agents to consider whether the potential deportee arrived as a child; the lack of criminal record; and pursuit of higher education,particularly for those who have graduated from high school in the US.
Chahal,who attended Los Altos High School in Northern California,was once voted Most Likely to Save the World by her classmates. She volunteers with several human rights organizations on the UC Davis campus.
Mandeep is amazing academically,but she’s also got a strong social bent, said Peddibhotla,adding that it would be tragic if Chahal were to be deported.