Teen fighting deportation has new hope after presidential announcement

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

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ATLANTA - President Barack Obama's announcement immediately lifting the threat of deportation for some illegal immigrants affects an estimated 800,000 young people across the country, including a Gwinnett County teen scheduled for deportation in a matter of weeks.

Channel 2 Action News was there as Paula De Lima Villafan, 18, marched down Spring Street in downtown Atlanta to the Office of Immigration Review.

Now, the fight against her deportation has a renewed sense of hope.

"I have no idea, I'm so nervous. I'm hoping everything comes well and they actually let me stay," Villafan told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh.

Thursday, Villafan and her attorney said her case was a long shot.

"I came here when I was four. I had no decision of it. So I have nothing else," Villafan said.

Fourteen years ago, Villafan and her family left Uruguay. They came to the U.S. legally, but were only granted a six-month stay. The family didn't realize staying longer stripped them of their rights to a day in court.

When police arrested Villafan in April after she was involved in a fender-bender, the deportation process began immediately.

President Obama's surprise announcement could change everything.

"Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people," Obama said.

The president's new policy doesn't lead to citizenship, but will allow people like Villafan, children of illegal immigrants, to apply for permits to work and live without fear of deportation.

"Actually getting into the Navy, which I really wanted to do, actually studying going into college. It will be great," Villafan said.

Villafan said if she doesn't win her battle, she will continue fighting for the thousands just like her.

"I have friends that go through it. Even though they don't have the voice to stand up for it, I'm actually standing up for them," Villafan said.

As of now, Villafan is set to be deported Aug. 20.