Photo: Mother Melissa Lee (left) and her daughter Elizabeth
Elizabeth Lee, born in Peru, faces deportation to a country she barely knows.
After Melissa Lee, Elizabeth’s mother, was arrested for the third time last May, Elizabeth went from looking forward to attending UC Berkeley to worrying about being deported back to Peru.
The family was going to be deported on January 19th, but last Thursday, they learned they were granted an extension, and are set to meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in July.
It wasn’t until the day before her 14th birthday that Elizabeth learned she was not in the U.S. legally. Her mother, Melissa was arrested by immigration authorities while Elizabeth and her brother Felix were at school. Elizabeth spent the week of her birthday with a foster family before she was reunited with her mother and brother. Upon the reunion, they filed a plea for asylum due to immense discrimination in Peru, but were denied in 2008. Two years later, Melissa Lee was arrested a second time. Then last May, for a third time.
Elizabeth Lee is exactly the type of person that would have benefited if the DREAM Act had been passed last year. The DREAM Act would have granted children of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship if they entered the U.S. before the age of 15 and were attending college or serving in the military.
In response to hearing her family having been granted an extension, Li said, “I hope this will be a step forward toward better times for us.”