Lundy Khoy, D.C. woman faces deportation to Cambodia
A D.C. woman who immigrated to America from Cambodia as a baby is now fighting deportation back to a country she’s never known.
When Lundy Khoy flips through childhood photos, she remembers the innocence and freedom she once had.
“Anytime I wake up, I wonder if I can just turn back time. I would change a lot,” Khoy said.
“I was happy. I was happy then,” she recalled.
But one wrong decision, nearly 13 years ago, set her adult life on a downward spiral.
The George Mason University freshman was caught with Ecstasy pills and told cops they weren’t all for her.
In Virginia, possession with intent to sell is an aggravated felony. She was sentenced to five years in prison, but released after four months on good behavior.
“Because of that mistake, it has followed me till this day because I am a lawful permanent resident, but not a U.S. citizen,” she said.
The now 31-year-old Southwest D.C. resident and University of Phoenix enrollment advisor fled the Cambodian genocide with her parents when she was one-year-old.
She got her green card while in Kindergarten, but never officially became a citizen.
“I didn't do it right away cause it cost money and I was saving money for school so before I could even apply for citizenship, I've already gotten into trouble,” Khoy said.
In 2004, immigration authorities took her into custody during an operation targeting removable aliens on active probation.
A judge called for her removal from America, based upon her run-in with the law. She’s still awaiting deportation.
“I don't like thinking about it because it's really tough. What I'm going through my head is how much it's going to hurt if we ever had to lose her,” Khoy’s sister Linda said.
“It's just very devastating. She's a part of my life. She's like my best friend. She's a sister. I consider her as family,” said Philip Keath, Khoy’s best friend.
Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says Khoy’s removal is not imminent.
In an email, Christensen wrote, in part, “Each year, only a limited number of Cambodians are removed as Cambodia is one of a handful of countries that restricts the ability of ICE to return its nationals.”
In the past five years, ICE has removed less than 300 Cambodian nationals. In addition, 1,894, including Khoy, have orders of removal but are still awaiting travel documents.
“I just want a second chance to stay here with my family,” Khoy said.
Khoy's story has received national attention. More than 3-thousand people have signed an online petition calling on President Obama to stop her deportation. She's also featured in a short documentary.
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