UPDATE: Gray Safe From Deportation, Community Reacts

5 years 10 months 2 days ago Tuesday, August 14 2012 Aug 14, 2012 Tuesday, August 14, 2012 7:55:00 PM CDT August 14, 2012 in News
By: Emily Spain
loading

TRENTON - Recent Stephens College graduate Lauren Gray had her bags packed to go back to England.  She faced deportation on her 21st birthday when she aged out of her parents' E2 investment visa.  However, thanks to the support of a community and a trip to Washington, D.C., Lauren no longer has to leave the place she calls home. 

Lauren planned to take a flight to England two days after her birthday to avoid becoming an illegal immigrant, but that plan landed after she got a phone call from Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. 

"Finally somebody got to the top," Lauren said.

The call came on Lauren's birthday on August 8, and McCaskill told her she didn't have to board the plane back to England. 

"I was speechless," Lauren said. "I was so like just in awe and me and my support like all of us that have worked together on this got this accomplished. I did it, we did this." 

The government approved Lauren for a two-year renewable deferral, which allows her to live in the country legally and never face deportation again.  Lauren can renew the deferral until she gets her green card. The Grays applied for their green cards in 2003 and are still waiting to receive them. Lauren also has the right to petition for the first time since she's lived in the United States.

Lauren said though that the help started in small town Trenton, Missouri. Many who support the Gray's restaurant and motel also backed Lauren's cause.  Her local cheerleaders were elated to learn life had finally dealt Lauren a lucky card.

"I almost jumped up and down because I heard it on the radio that morning," one Trenton resident said. 

The Gray family heard the good news one week after Lauren, her mom Ali and her best friend Shelby traveled to the nation's capitol. There they told Lauren's story to politicians and received mixed reactions. 

"Some of the aides were just really negative about it and all that they would say was, 'Sorry we can't help you. This is our immigration system it's broken,'" Lauren said.

Those responses had Ali and Lauren fighting back.

"The sides are polar opposites, one side is like let everyone in and the other is like build a fence. There needs to be some middle ground," Ali said.

While the Grays get to keep Lauren in the land of the free, they said their battle for immigration reform is just getting started.

"They'll definitely not hear the last of us I'm sure," Ali said. "It's not just for us now, it's for other people too."

"If America didn't make it so hard to do it right, then more people would do it right," Lauren said.

The Grays could face the same deportation issue with Lauren's younger sister Gemma, a college freshman.  Lauren said she hopes her story will influence changes in the law or that the family members receive their green cards before Gemma turns 21. 

McCaskill said the deferral Lauren received is given on a case-by-case basis. McCaskill said others with a similar story to Lauren's can call her office, but said every situation is different.

Lauren plans to pursue her dancing career in the U.S. and hopes to end up in New York one day.

More News

Grid
List
BOONE COUNTY – The Katy Trail will see more bike traffic than usual this week with the 2018 Katy Trail... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 7:33:00 AM CDT June 18, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA- Columbia is under a heat advisory until Monday evening. The National Weather Service issued the advisory on Friday.... More >>
11 hours ago Sunday, June 17 2018 Jun 17, 2018 Sunday, June 17, 2018 9:29:00 PM CDT June 17, 2018 in News
FULTON - Forty people with disabilities will learn how to ride a two-wheel bicycle at the iCan Bike camp this... More >>
11 hours ago Sunday, June 17 2018 Jun 17, 2018 Sunday, June 17, 2018 9:18:00 PM CDT June 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri is the first and only state to define "meat" as exclusively animal product. The Missouri General... More >>
15 hours ago Sunday, June 17 2018 Jun 17, 2018 Sunday, June 17, 2018 4:55:00 PM CDT June 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The city will discuss 1the results of the 2017 Community Survey at Monday's city council meeting. Used... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, June 17 2018 Jun 17, 2018 Sunday, June 17, 2018 4:06:00 PM CDT June 17, 2018 in News
ROCHEPORT - The Sunny Oaks Charity Horse Show brought about 20 riders out Sunday afternoon to compete for ribbons and... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, June 17 2018 Jun 17, 2018 Sunday, June 17, 2018 3:36:00 PM CDT June 17, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD - A Hickman High School graduate has surrounded herself with Kewpies. The dolls' trademark round eyes watch happily from... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, June 17 2018 Jun 17, 2018 Sunday, June 17, 2018 8:05:00 AM CDT June 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Hundreds of people impacted by cancer gathered together on a track Saturday in support of cancer fighters and... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, June 16 2018 Jun 16, 2018 Saturday, June 16, 2018 10:11:00 PM CDT June 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A podiatrist with the Jefferson City Medical Group is the first doctor in Missouri to use a... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, June 16 2018 Jun 16, 2018 Saturday, June 16, 2018 6:42:00 PM CDT June 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - At "Shred Fest," a local skateboarding competition, keeping participants safe was a top concern. An organization provided free... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, June 16 2018 Jun 16, 2018 Saturday, June 16, 2018 6:18:00 PM CDT June 16, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) - President Donald Trump suggested Saturday that he is using his administration's separation of families at the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, June 16 2018 Jun 16, 2018 Saturday, June 16, 2018 3:14:00 PM CDT June 16, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A second sheriff's deputy died early Saturday from injuries suffered when an inmate... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, June 16 2018 Jun 16, 2018 Saturday, June 16, 2018 6:45:00 AM CDT June 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Juneteenth Heritage Festival is keeping the history of Juneteenth alive in mid-Missouri. Juneteenth is a... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, June 16 2018 Jun 16, 2018 Saturday, June 16, 2018 4:29:00 AM CDT June 16, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A death, a huge cache of weapons and a suspect who's gun jammed as he was aiming... More >>
2 days ago Friday, June 15 2018 Jun 15, 2018 Friday, June 15, 2018 8:06:00 PM CDT June 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone County's Republican clerk and the Democrat running against him have differing opinions over voter fraud. Challenger... More >>
2 days ago Friday, June 15 2018 Jun 15, 2018 Friday, June 15, 2018 6:59:00 PM CDT June 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia’s City Channel was recently recognized for creative excellence in production by The Telly Awards Judging Council. Producers... More >>
2 days ago Friday, June 15 2018 Jun 15, 2018 Friday, June 15, 2018 6:43:00 PM CDT June 15, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — One Wyandotte County sheriff's deputy is dead and one is in critical condition after... More >>
2 days ago Friday, June 15 2018 Jun 15, 2018 Friday, June 15, 2018 6:04:00 PM CDT June 15, 2018 in News
MILLER COUNTY- Investigators say the human remains they found in Miller County on Monday are from a male from the... More >>
2 days ago Friday, June 15 2018 Jun 15, 2018 Friday, June 15, 2018 4:48:00 PM CDT June 15, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 82°
9am 85°
10am 87°
11am 89°
12pm 91°