Last week, just hours before Mandeep and her mother were scheduled to be deported to India, we learned that immigration officials changed their minds and canceled the deportation. At the last minute, she was given a one year stay of deportation. This was no doubt thanks to the thousands of supporters who took action to keep her at home in California.
Yesterday, Mandeep was the featured speaker at the U.S. Capitol in front of Senators and hundreds of youth like herself, who only want the opportunity to live in the country they love without the fear of deportation. This event comes on the heels of an important Senate hearing on the DREAM Act, which is legislation that would enable these talented young people to earn their citizenship through either two years of college or military service.
As she stood before a crowd of hundreds in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room on Capitol Hill, Mandeep told the story of how she was saved from deportation. She asked elected leaders to ensure that no family ever has to go through the anguish that she endured, and said:
As a student, I work hard. I’m in the honors program at one of the country’s top public universities, and I’m on track to go to medical school. I plan to spend my life working for the public good in the United States of America. If it took all this for me to stay in my country, then something is wrong. It shouldn’t be this hard.
Just think: Exactly one week before her speech on Capitol Hill, Mandeep was scheduled to be on an airplane bound for India – a country she doesn’t even remember. The activism from thousands literally changed her life forever. Following is a thank you message from Mandeep, excerpted from her valedictory address as she introduced America to the “Deportation Class of 2011:“