We grew up in a very strict household and my parents did the best they could with raising Asian American children, keeping the Cambodian values while trying to adapt the American way. When Lundy was barely 19 years old, while she was in college and in her experimental phase like most college kids, she made a mistake by carrying a few ecstasy pills for her and her friends. Her honesty that our parents instilled in us changed the course of her future. She is 32 years old now, and due to the lack of judicial discretion that immigrations judges have, her mistake is considered an aggravated felony, which is an automatic ground for deportation if you are not a US citizen to a country she has never set foot in.
When she was first arrested, she did very little time awaiting her court date and the judge placed her on probation because as she said, “you were a young, dumb, and naive girl.” Just as her 4-year probation was close to an end, ICE picked her up without a moment’s notice and kept her for another 8 months until they realized that they were not yet able to get travel documents to release her to Cambodia.
Last year they heightened it by placing an ankle bracelet on her, which caused more public humiliation for her and our family. Lundy is now 32 years old and has been working for a university for close to 7 years and is no threat to society. She has never been into any type of trouble aside from the mistake she made when she was 19. She grew up just as I did.
We went to the same elementary school, middle school, and high school and Lundy is much an American as I am, if not better. We decided it was time to share her story to bring justice to Lundy and help others recognize that there is a flaw in the immigration system that pushes good “Americans” like Lundy to an unknown country where she has zero ties. It is time to apply true judicial discretion and legal protections to guard against unwarranted and outdated detentions and deportations policies. That is why I support immigration reform.