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San Francisco Teenager Gets Deportation Reprieve

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SAN FRANCISCO (BCN/KCBS) – A San Francisco teen who was scheduled to be deported later this month received a six-month reprieve Thursday that will give her lawyers time to build a case for her to stay in the country legally.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Elizabeth Lee, 18, came to the U.S. from Peru with her mother Melissa and brother Felix, 16, in 2000.

She graduated from Lowell High School in San Francisco in June and was accepted to attend the University of California at Berkeley last fall, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained Melissa Lee in June. She was released, but officials said the family would be deported to Peru on Jan. 19.

A rally was held Thursday at Mission Dolores Church in support of Elizabeth Lee, and Thursday morning, organizers found out she has been given another six months in the country to prepare her immigration case.

Thursday was Epiphany, the last of the 12 days of Christmas in the Catholic faith. Also known as Three Kings Day, it commemorates the arrival of the three wise men in the nativity story.

Rally spokesman Eric Quezada called the reprieve an Epiphany gift.

“That made it special as well,” he said. “That was the theme of the day. We were hoping for a gift in honor of the Epiphany.”

Quezada said the reprieve was granted on humanitarian grounds and is likely related to the strength of Lee’s legal case.

“We believe she has a strong case to be able to remain in the country lawfully,” he said. “This will allow her to reopen the case so new evidence can be put forward.”

Quezada declined to discuss the legal strategy for keeping her in the U.S., but said Elizabeth and her family are talented and hard working.

“Instead of being able to attend college this past fall, Elizabeth has to face this,” he said.

She speaks very little Spanish, he added.

Shing Ma “Steve” Li, a San Francisco nursing student who recently faced similar deportation proceedings, was scheduled to attend Lee’s rally Thursday.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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