Richmond teen granted reprieve after facing deportation - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmond teen granted reprieve after facing deportation


Heydi Mejia wants to be successful. She enjoys working as a part-time cosmetologist.

"I like making other people feel pretty," said Mejia.

However, her ultimate dream is to become a pediatric nurse. The 18-year-old Meadowbrook High School honors student thought she was well on her way to doing just that.

"I thought was going to go to college right after I got out of high school, but things worked out a little differently," said Mejia.

It worked out differently because Heydi is an illegal immigrant, and has been since she was 5 years old.

She remembers crossing the Rio Grande with her family once they left Guatemala.

"They were crossing us with a tire, it was a car tire, so that we wouldn't drown," said Mejia.

However, the trip came back to haunt her in December 2011, when immigration agents showed up at her door, looking for her mother.

Heydi and her family were eventually fitted with a tracking device, and told to buy one-way tickets back to Guatemala after Heydi's graduation.

"Everyone would tell me that it would be a lot easier for me since I know English and Spanish," said Mejia.

That didn't bring any relief.

However, relief came June 10- two days after graduation, and one day after her story was featured in the Washington Post.

"I got a phone call from my lawyer, and he said that immigration had faxed him a sheet saying that we had gotten a reprieve, and that was really exciting," said Mejia.

She is finally going to college, and that makes her excited because she can put the skills it took to get her high school diploma to good use.

"I am going to start in January, hopefully, and go into nursing as well. I'm trying to get my driver's license as well. That has been a long process at the DMV, but I have hope that everything is possible. If God's opened that door, he's going to open many more doors," said Mejia.

Heydi plans to apply for the Deferred Action Program, which allows immigrants who are 30 and younger to remain in the country and work legally for two years.

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