Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stop the Deportation of Eddy Zheng (Again)

by Erin Pangilinan October 14, 2010

Xiao Fei "Eddy" Zheng, an Asian American immigrant community leader, faces deportation to China, yet again.

In the 1980s, 16-year-old Zheng and his family faced language barriers that kept them from fully understanding that he was found guilty of an aggravated felony and going to serve over 20 years in prison. After being released in 2007, Zheng was in danger of immediate deportation due to his status as a legal permanent resident (non-U.S. citizen) with an aggravated felony. But he threw himself into becoming a contributing member of his local San Francisco Bay Area community.

Zheng has distinguished himself as a leader for prisoner rehabilitation, earning his Associates degree and organizing the first poetry slam at San Quentin State Prison. His current work as a Project Manager in Oakland at the Community Youth Center focuses on youth violence prevention in the Asian American Pacific Islander community, striving to keep at-risk youth out of prison. In recognition of his desire and ability to serve, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Zheng to the San Francisco Reentry Council, which helps ex-offenders in transition back into society. Zheng also found the time to publish Other: an Asian and Pacific Islander Prisoners' Anthology in 2009 2007.

Over the past few years, several campaigns launched by the Asian American community have protested Zheng's potentional deportation and advocated for a stay of removal. In the more recent call to action, more support beyond the Asian American community is needed in requesting a pardon allowing him to stay in the U.S. with his wife and family permanently, resolving his status in a positive direction once and for all.

Zheng's dedication to his community has won him many supporters. In July of this year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors signed a resolution supporting Eddy Zheng's stay of removal. Various public leaders like Congressman Mike Honda, Congresswoman Judy Chu, and several California State Senators have also recognized his work. Uprooting him would be a great loss to the at-risk youth of the Bay Area.

Zheng has done more than enough to pay back his debt to society and deserves a pardon, which he filed for in September 2010, from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to stay in the U.S. Sign this petition to tell the Governor to pardon Eddy Zheng.

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