By Mandeep Chahal:
For my entire life, just two pieces of paper stood between me and my dreams: a social security card and a work permit. Now with Obama’s new immigration policy, which will begin in mid-August, I will be able to apply and benefit from both of these for at least two years.
Last year, my mother and I were nearly deported to India, a country I hadn’t seen since I was a small girl. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. Where before I was just a normal pre-med college sophomore, I found myself strapped with an electronic monitoring device on my ankle and treated like a criminal.
But my friends and I decided to fight and together with my community, we organized, gathered over 20 thousand petitions and kept fighting until the Obama Administration decided to cancel our deportation. If it wasn’t for that, I would be over 5,000 miles away, separated from my brothers, my father, and other loved ones..
But like I said at the time, no family or community should have to fight so hard to stop a single deportation and together with other DREAMers and allies around the country, we demanded that President Obama change his policy and stop deporting DREAMers like me.
So that’s why when President Obama announced on June 15th that he would provide relief for DREAMers, it was almost too hard to believe. I felt a huge burden lifted from my shoulders. Knowing that I wouldn’t have to spend each day worrying about being sent away from my family and friends was such a relief.
Because of the new policy, I will be able to complete school and support myself through medical school. It is such a relief to finally have some certainty about my future.
This new policy is a major win for our community. It’s estimated that nearly 1.4 million young people like me will benefit from President Obama’s decision. These are the kind of reforms that we need. But we must keep a watchful eye on the Department of Homeland Security to make sure this new policy is implemented promptly and fairly.
Although DREAMers can’t apply until mid-August – sixty days from when the new policy was first announced — here are a few more resources on the new policy to help in your search for information about it:
- United We Dream and National Immigration Law Center: FAQ on Obama’s New DREAM Relief Policy
- With Obama’s DREAM Relief Policy, It’s Back to School (or GED) Time for Many DREAMers
I am so excited that very soon, I will be able to work, drive and do so many of the things that a lot of people in America take for granted. But I also know that there is much work still to be done.
My family and I had to organize and fight hard to stop my deportation and my mother’s; an entire nation of DREAMers and allies had to organize and fight to move the President toward announcing that he will stop deporting DREAMers and give us temporary relief. It is going to take all of us to pass real immigration reform legislation — like the DREAM Act — to provide permanent relief. And I’m not going to give up until we get that job done.