DREAM Act Leader Prerna Lal in Deportation Proceedings

Categories: Immigration
prernalal1.jpg
Me, scared?
While President Barack Obama voiced support for the DREAM Act today in Silicon Valley, one of the Bay Area's most vociferous leaders in the national student movement to get the bill passed is now facing possible deportation.

If passed, the DREAM Act would pave the path of citizenship for any illegal immigrants who had been brought here as children -- as long as they complete two years of college or the military.

Students across the country and in the Bay Area have already exposed themselves as illegal immigrants when they publicly supported passage of the bill -- Prerna Lal in particular.

Lal, a Fiji native who came to the Bay Area when she was 14, was the poster child for our coverage of the DREAM Act last summer. She has blogged extensively about the DREAM Act on Change.org and details her own predicament on her blog.  She also helped found DreamActivist, the national organization of young immigrants who advocate for the passage of the DREAM Act.

But all of this attention has seemingly backfired.

Two weeks ago during final exams at George Washington University Law School, Lal received a letter requesting she report to immigration court in San Francisco for removal proceedings.

As she writes on Change.org:

I just paid $800 to the State of California in business taxes. And I'm expected to appear in an immigration court in San Francisco for this trial. That is some heavy taxation without representation. To make matters more complicated, my entire family is American and they have done nothing to deserve this treatment.
Meanwhile, during a speech at Facebook today, President Obama received heavy applause after confirming that he supports DREAM Act-eligible immigrants like Lal.

"If they are of good character and going to school and the military ... why wouldn't we want to embrace them? Why wouldnt we want to make sure their contributing to our future?" he said. "Why would we want to send them somewhere else? We don't want them starting Intel in China or France -- we want them starting here."

But what are the president's words doing to help Lal?

Lal is eligible for relief under the DREAM Act. She came to the Bay Area with her father, and soon after graduated with degrees from San Francisco State University and CSU-East Bay. She worked her way through college by cleaning an office building, getting paid under the table.

Although the DREAM Act bill is dead for now, Lal doesn't appear to be scared. She was quoted in the George Washington University student paper with breezy confidence despite the reality of her situation:

"I've stopped about a dozen of these cases from happening," Lal says. "I know how to do deportation defense."
But she might still need some help, which is why Lal's supporters have started a fundraising and petition campaign at Change.org. They've already gotten nearly 2,000 signatures.

"I think a lot of people are angry," Lal says. "I'm more amused, personally -- they can't kick me out of the country."

Update, 6:00: Lal e-mailed to put her "kick me out of the country" quote in the student paper in more context:

"I was talking about how immigration court backlogs function in a manner that a case like this can continue for up to ten years, while my parent's petition for me would take 5-7 years giving me a green card anyway. So the whole idea of trying to deport me is complete waste of time and money. Of course, they can just make my life really difficult with court hearings upon court hearings all the way across the country, which they are trying to do. It ends up looking like political prosecution, which is why I am more amused than afraid.

But anyway, removal proceedings are actually a good thing sometimes. I can get cancellation of removal and a green card through it as well. Of course, I hope it gets taken care of sooner rather than later because I don't want to be 35, with a J.D. and PhD and still appearing for removal proceedings."

Correction: A previous headline of this post had wrongly indicated Lal was set for deportation, when she is merely set for removal proceedings at this point. SF Weekly regrets the error.

Photo: Change.org

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13 comments
prh44
prh44

You are illegal and its documented. You are not an American, you are a fugitive and leech. We are one nation under GOD and in GOD we trust. Doesn't sound like anything you are interested in so just simply leave.

Tarhi Ahli
Tarhi Ahli

Fiji here on the other hand will welcome Prerna openheartedly....of coz not 4gittin a big maqiti...'I'll get a green card, then go willingly, write several books on the beaches, and retire rich."(Lal)#FACT TO THE CORE

bigriggs
bigriggs

Leave and try to come back the legal way. You are not a US citizen therefore should not benefit from the rights afforded legal citizens.

Amberdru
Amberdru

Talk about a Moron of immigration!

Top 5 Morons of the Week for Immigrant Rightsby Prerna Lal April 26, 2010

5. California Representative Brian Bilbray

4. Anti-immigrant groups like California Population Stabilization (CAPS) and NumbersUSA

3. William Gheen phobia won't bring you any new fans.

2. . Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain

1. State Senator Russell Pearce, and Governor Jan Brewer

No lie is so great Prerna will not spew it.

Liberal groups were calling for population stabilization since the 1960's.

Roy Beck was reporting on the environment BEFORE Prerna WAS BORN.

When Prerna cann't refute the facts she will- scream nativism, racism, xenophobia; cann't forget HITLER; it's just like gassing people in concentration camps!

Lets see , more people into a limited space with a fixed amount of land and drinkable water- Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barbra Jordan and SENATOR GAYLORD NELSON THE FOUNDER OF EARTH DAY WAS IN FAVOR OF LIMITING IMMIGRATION TO THE US TO SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT- IS THAT AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH FOR YOU?

Happy Earth Day

Facebook User
Facebook User

On a more serious note, I must say I find it contrary to journalism and journalistic ethics that the writer chose to not talk to me about my story or even verify the facts before publishing this. It's not a big deal - I get that it is the SF Weekly and the standards for journalism are really low. But maybe you can start showing some professional responsibility and ethics before taking quotes out of context and piecing together a story to fit your chosen frame. It is highly inappropriate and you are doing a great dis-service to real lives and real people.

Liz
Liz

"If passed, the DREAM Act would pave the path of citizenship for any illegal immigrants who had been brought here as children -- as long as they complete two years of college or the military."

This statement is only PARTIALLY correct. The version of the DREAM Act that passed in the House of Representatives in December of 2010 (yet ultimately failed in the Senate a week later) SPECIFICALLY stated that it would apply ONLY to illegal immigrants who meet the following criteria (however this is not all the things that must be met, just a few): (a) UNDER the age of 30 at the time of the Act's passing, (b) have been in the United States of America for 5 or more years at the time of the Act's passing (c) were brought to the United States when they were under the age of 16 (so up to and including age 15. If he/she was brought at age 16, they would be ineligible). So no, it would not pave the path of citizenship for "ANY" illegal immigrant who had been brought here as children.

Please do your research before making blanket statements that will only mis-inform the portion of the general populous that doesn't do their homework on such issues (far too many Americans). And yes, I am a U.S. citizen by birth and can say that. :P Let's go, DREAM Act!!

Hardcorestudboy
Hardcorestudboy

Lal needs to be repatriated as soon as possible - the beaches of Fiji await her.

Amberdru
Amberdru

Who are you to talk about journalistic ethics?

From your past work.

2. But some politicians need to get re-elected, so they will do just about anything to get the votes. Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain of Arizona introduced a bill to send 3000 troops to the border, build 700 miles of fence, and increase Customs and Border Patrol agents. Also, John McCain appeared on the O'Reilly Factor in support of SB 1070 and declared that undocumented immigrants knowingly cause accidents. “It's the drive-by that — the drivers of cars with illegals in it that are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway," he said. That doesn't even make any sense. Would someone escort McCain home so he stops being an embarrassment to himself? We hear medicinal marijuana was legalized in D.C. so maybe McCain and Kyl can both put it to good use as a cure for their insanity.

Prerna, your deceit knows no bounds.

As the rabid illegal alien activist you are, you must know that the police are not suppose to continue a car chase when it becomes dangerous to the public; that's why illegal aliens try to intentionally cause accidents on the freeway so the police won't purse them.

Are you capable of saying anything that isn't a lie?

Sebgiraldo
Sebgiraldo

I have a similar story that I would like to share with you. I tried to find an email or some form of contact information (found you on facebook but it didn't allow me to send a message). I hope we can be in contact.

Facebook User
Facebook User

Don't worry, it's in the works. I'll get a green card, then go willingly, write several books on the beaches, and retire rich.

Tarhi Ahli
Tarhi Ahli

Behind every successful person lies a pack of haters!!:)

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