White House hails undocumented Delhi girl as ‘Champion of Change’

By Arun Kumar,

Washington : New Delhi born Pratishtha Khanna, who came to the US illegally at the age of ten, is one of ten local “Champions of Change” honoured by the White House for their exemplary leadership in their communities.

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All the ten honoured Tuesday were what are called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients under a programme initiated by President Barack Obama through a memo signed on June 15, 2012.

The programme requires the US immigration authorities to defer removal action for certain undocumented young people who came to the US as children and have pursued education or military service here. They are also often referred to as “DREAMers” as most of them meet the general requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

“These DACA recipients serve as success stories and role models in their academic and professional spheres,” the White House said.

Khanna from Laurel, Maryland for one, is currently a senior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and will graduate in May with a BS in Biology.

She is an active member of the API Youth Convening-DACA Collaborative planning committee and the Maryland Dream Youth Committee (MDYC).

She is also a member of Dreamers for DREAMers student organization at UMBC.

After graduation, Khanna will be working (thanks to DACA) as an Emergency room medical scribe and will pursue a Certified Nursing Assistant Programme at Howard Community College. She hopes to attend medical school in Fall 2017.

“These Champions distinguished themselves through their community involvement and the hard work they put into helping other members of their academic and professional communities succeed,” White House said.

The White House event was intended to “showcase these inspirational young leaders and highlight the importance of providing talented young people with the opportunity to realise their full potential.”

The White House said it created the Champions of Change programme to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])