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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Immigrant Student Steve Li Freed From ICE, Dream Act Close

Article first published as Breaking News: City College Student Steve Li Freed, Hopes For Dream Act Passage on Technorati, author Tim Paynter

Protesting arrest and detention of Steven Li

Steve Li is a student at City College in San Francisco who came to the US with his parents. Because he did not attend the immigration hearing, he was too young to understand what was going on, he was not aware of a final order for deportation.

One day, your best friend and mine, ICE came knocking at Steve's door. They arrested Steve Li and both of his parents. Since the parents came here looking for asylum from a one child policy and political oppression, the Li’s were not welcome back into China. So ICE let them go.

We reported the original story, Tough Titty For Steven Li.  My publisher did not like the title but she let me run it anyway.  Many of you shared it which we appreciate!


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Steve, on the other hand, by chance was born in Peru. They accepted Steve Li back. No one in Peru has any idea who he is, since he has not been there since he was a kid. But because he was born there, the country said, heck, send him back.  Civil rights groups say "not so fast".

While Mr. and Mrs. Li are free subject to wearing ankle bracelets, ICE decided Steven was a “run risk” so they shipped him off to a contract holding jail in Arizona. Each day Steve was in jail the company makes great money at the expense of tax payers. ICE wanted Steve gone, and the immigration judge was unsympathetic.

“You had your day in court.” The truth is, since Steve was too young to go to the courtl , he never appeared. He has not had a court hearing as an adult in which he had a fair chance. Until now.

Diane Feinstein is introducing a bill in the Senate to give Steve a chance. Feinstein says it is unfair to deport him to Peru with no money and in a place where he has no friends or relatives. ICE wantes to do this before the Dream Act comes up for a vote. That would make Steve one of the last persons deported under an aggressive immigration policy before legislation to provide fairness to undocumented workers is passed.

The Dream Act, or Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, is bipartisan legislation that gives children of undocumented immigrants to the chance to go to school and improve themselves.  They were brought here too young to understand what borders and laws were.  Most of them understood what hunger was.  Hence the law suggests we don't penalize children for the actions of their parents.  The law allows youth to go to school or enter the military.  If they are successful, then they can apply for a permanent resident card.  That only happens after a background check and payment of a significant fine.

The contract jail boys are going to get a few pesos less. Federal immigration officials are putting the San Francisco college student on an overnight Greyhound bus back to San Francisco, according to lawyer Sin Yen Ling.

"Its amazing. It's extremely rare for a private bill to be introduced," Ling said. "It's clear she thought this was an important case."

Thanks to the immigrant community and the human rights community for all of the efforts in bringing this injustice to the attention of those who have the power to return justice to a broken immigration system.

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Call your senator and call Senator Reid!  It is for the future of the nation!

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