Saira Hussain, Advancing Justice – ALC
URGENT: DV Survivor and Mother Faces Deportation in Yolo County
Woodland, CA — A domestic violence survivor may be just days away from permanent separation from her six-year-old daughter due to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) inconsistent application of deportation priorities. California immigrant rights and domestic violence organizations are urging ICE to exercise its prosecutorial discretion and immediately drop the case.
Nan-Hui Jo, mother of a six-year-old child, could be transferred to immigration custody within the week. In 2009, Nan-Hui fled with her child to South Korea, her home country, after physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her then-partner and child’s father. In 2014, when she returned to the United States, she immediately was arrested for alleged child abduction. For seven months, Nan-Hui has been separated from her child and continues to languish at Yolo County Jail. Her first trial ended in a hung jury in December 2014, and her second trial began last Friday. After the trial, Nan-Hui faces imminent deportation and permanent separation from her daughter.
Nan-Hui is also a victim of ICE’s systematic deportation apparatus that has deported over 2 million individuals during President Obama’s administration. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE issued a new memorandum aimed to prioritize deportations, but Nan-Hui’s case highlights the dysfunction within the agencies, which forcibly separate 1,100 families a day. Although Nan-Hui has a U Visa application on file to recognize her status as a victim of crime, ICE continues to seek Nan-Hui’s transfer to immigration custody for deportation. Moreover, ICE has refused to drop Nan-Hui’s case despite its own parental interests directive, which requires that the agency’s practices do not interfere with an individual’s parental rights.
Background: On November 20, 2014, DHS and ICE released a memorandum establishing new priorities for deportation. Although the agencies issued similar orders in the past, they attempted and failed to prioritize deportations. Immigrant rights groups have criticized the new priorities as both overbroad and vague, and argue that ICE continues to perpetuate deportation policies that have devastated immigrant communities across the country.
After the birth of her child in 2008, Nan-Hui had a volatile relationship involving physical and emotional abuse with her then-partner and child’s father. On two occasions in August 2009 and October 2009, Nan-Hui called the Sacramento County Police Department after her child’s father physically abused her. After the October incident, she feared for her safety and fled to South Korea with her child. After Nan-Hui left her child’s father, he reported her for kidnapping. In July 2014, Nan-Hui returned to the United States and immediately was arrested and extradited to Yolo County to await trial on charges of alleged child abduction.
For the past seven months, Nan-Hui has been detained at the Yolo County Jail after the judge in her case denied her bail because of an immigration hold. She also has been unable to speak to her daughter since July because of a no-contact order, which she currently is challenging in family court.
ICE could take custody of Nan-Hui any day. Immigrant rights and domestic violence groups are urging ICE to exercise prosecutorial discretion and drop its case against Nan-Hui.
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