Mandeep Chahal, reprieved from deportation through a furious two and a half day campaign that exploded over Facebook, thanked supporters in a statement Tuesday night.
"My family will be at home tonight, together, because of you," she wrote on a note on a Facebook that had been set up just Sunday.
Chahal and her mother, Jagdish Kaur, were in the deportation process with an active appeal. Tuesday morning, they journeyed from their Mountain View home and surrendered to the federal Bureau of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in San Francisco so her lawyer could make one last attempt. They were scheduled to be on a 1 a.m. Tuesday night flight to India.
The BIA denied the appeal, but shortly afterwards ICE authorities granted an indefinite stay said the pair's lawyer, Kalpana Peddibhotla. ICE confirmed it in a statement issued from its Laguna Niguel office.
"At the request of her lawyers, ICE granted Ms. Chahal a stay of deportation to afford her attorneys more time to pursue their legal options in this case," said Lori K. Haley, a spokeswoman for ICE.
The Facebook Group URGENT: Stop the Deportation of Mandeep Chahal, was started only Sunday and by Tuesday numbered 1,800 people. They phoned, urged the Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Rep Anna Eshoo, and faxed ICE to grant her a stay.
On just a couple days' notice, America's Voice, a group advocating "commonsense immigration reform" marshaled experts and hosted a teleconference with reporters to bring her case to light. Boxer's office confirmed staff had been in contact with Chahal's family and had contacted ICE about her case.
Below is the text of Chahal's note:
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.
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. Please
continue these efforts until we reach a definitive resolution of our case.
I will keep you informed in the continuing push for lasting relief. I look
forward to sharing more of my story once the case is resolved. Once again, I
would like to express my profound gratitude to the thousands of people who
have rallied together in support of my family. 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.