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Facebook Group May Have Helped Student from Deportation, For Now

Close to 1800 members, including the local high school superintendent, advocate for Mandeep Chahal.

Social media has been credited with the successful revolution in Egypt and organization of numerous protests from Iran to Colombia. Closer to home, friends of Mandeep Chahal have turned to Facebook to keep her here.

So far, they may have succeeded.

Over the span of the last two days, the office fax machines, email inboxes and phones of the federal California representatives may have overflowed with letters and messages from the family and friends of Chahal. Chahal, a Mountain View resident who would have been deported to India tonight at 1 a.m. instead received a stay of deportation that is, she'll be able to stay for awhile, and the Facebook group "URGENT: Stop the Deportation of Mandeep Chahal" may have had a lot to do with it.

Close to 1,800 people became members of the group including Superintendent of the Barry Groves. Chahal, a 2009 graduate of Los Altos High School has received a lot of support from her classmates, parents and teachers at LAHS.

"This is totally outrageous. Why the hell did this come up? On what terms?" said the message of Los Altos High graduate Connor Lanman. "I'm sending in my fax. Keep sharing the word on Facebook!"

A parent of one of Chahal's classmates encouraged other to also contact their elected representatives.

"My kids went to school with Mandeep. She is a successful, bright girl who should have the chance to stay here," said Joan Miller, who listed Senator Barbara Boxer's office number. "Unless her Senators stop the deportation process, Mandeep and her mother will be sent back to India Wednesday at 1:00 am. So please call these numbers ASAP!"

Friends posted articles they thought would help give ideas to prevent the deportation; some posted articles about Chahal, as other news outlets learned of her deportation.

Chahal's friends at UC Davis, where she's declared a neurology and biology double major, have joined and to help spread the word.

"Our country is so screwed up!!!! [M]andeep is the epitome of what our government would like its citizens to be like," said Ally Conner. "Deporting her would only deprive this country of a wonderful and influential human being who possesses the ability to inspire others and change the world."

With the power of outlets like Facebook and Twitter, and the ubiquitousness of the Internet and smart phones, the word spread quickly about Chahal through the social networks. From there, her friends made sure that their leaders Washington, D.C.  learned about her too.

"I signed and shared!" said Luis Fernandez, a UC Davis student.  "I'm going to get friends to sign this [petition] too."

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