Lundy Khoy, a Cambodian-American refugee, told CNN on Wednesday that the U.S. has been her home since the age of 1, but she is now living in fear because President-elect Donald Trump has promised to deport people like her.
During his Republican primary campaign, Trump proposed a "deportation force" to remove undocumented immigrants from the country. But he later softened his position after winning the election, suggesting that he would focus on the 3 million immigrants with criminal records.
Khoy explained to CNN's Carol Costello that she fell into that category because she was arrested for possession of ecstasy while in college 16 years ago.
"It's scary, it's a scary time," she stated. "Everything about me is American. I've been living here since I was 1. I grew up here. I never left the country. And everything I know in my life is everything American."
Khoy pointed out that Trump's plan would see her deported her to Cambodia, even though she had never set foot in the country because she was born in a refugee camp in Thailand after her parents fled Pol Pot's genocide.
"I made some really poor choices my first year of college because I wanted to fit in," she recalled. "And I was introduced to ecstasy and at the time didn't know that it was an illegal substance. I honestly told the cops when they approached me about drugs, I shared it with them that I did have these pills and learned that they were illegal."
Khoy was sentenced to four years of probation after serving three months in a Virginia correctional facility. The 36-year-old immigrant became emotional as she told Costello about the deportation order that had been hanging over her head since she was 23 years old.
"There's just so much uncertainty, Ms. Costello," she said, struggling for words. "I just don't know what else to do. In 2012, I decided I needed to share my story because I'm not a drug dealer, I'm not a gang member. I'm just an ordinary person that just wants to stay home where I feel like I belong."
Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast Dec. 14, 2016.