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9th Circuit Appeal Hearing

Aug 14, 2011
» Videos

9th Circuit Appeal Hearing

Community Activist, Ex-Con Eddy Zheng Faces Deportation

Mar 16, 2011
» Articles

by Jon Brooks, with reporting by Kyung Jin Lee, KQED News Fix

( read excerpted article online here )

Community Activist, Ex-Con Eddy Zheng Faces Deportation

At issue, according to Kyung Jin Lee, KQED’s reporter at the hearing, is whether a Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision to remove Zheng considered positive factors in addition to his prison record. Zheng spent 19 years in prison stemming rom a robbery-kidnapping he took part in as a teen.

In addition to his job working with at-risk youth, Zheng has also become known for his poetry and prison blog.You may remember that his incarceration became a cause celebre in the late 1990s, after then-governor Gray Davis ignored a unanimous parole board vote in his favor, refusing to sign off on his release. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger finally granted Zheng parole in 2005, but because his imprisonment had prevented him from becoming a naturalized citizen, he was taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security pending deportation proceedings. He was set free in 2007, but an immigration court eventually ordered that he be deported to China, where he lived as a boy. The appeal of that order was today.

Convict Turned Youth Counselor Fights Deportation

Dec 29, 2010
» Articles

by ktvu.com

( read excerpted article online here )

“My work is here; my career. Everything that I invested in prison is here. So I want to make a difference in the community,” Zheng said.

Several prominent politicians and community leaders have joined in a petition drive to urge Governor Schwarzenegger pardon Zheng as one of his final acts before leaving office.

“I deserve a chance to be able to utilize the skills I have to stay in the United States with my family and to continue to service the community,” Zheng said.

Pardon Me!

Dec 24, 2010
» Action Items

Pardon Eddy Zheng!

 

Eddy is an asset to the community. His teenage years in Oakland, and his incarceration experience have enabled him to conduct effective outreach and intervention strategies for youth, many of whom who are at-risk for entering the criminal justice system.

After serving over 20 years behind bars for a robbery he committed at age 16, Chinese American community leader Eddy Zheng now faces deportation to China, a huge loss to the Bay Area community. Released from prison in 2007, Eddy has dedicated his life to preventing youth violence and delinquency through his work at the Community Youth Center, Community Response Network, and many other SF Bay Area programs and organizations. Flawed immigration laws make Eddy deportable to China, although Eddy has already served his sentence and was found suitable to re-enter society by Governor Schwarzenegger himself.

(more…)

2009 Reflections

Jan 02, 2010
» Reflections

Dearest family, friends and supporters:

Happy new breath! Happy New Year! Happy new decade!

I remember standing in the 49er’s Linebacker room sharing a message with about twenty NFL football players, “You’re one bad decision away from being locked up in prison or six feet under.” We all have to be accountable to our actions. There is no exception.

I remember an immigrant youth lying on a gurney in the hospital emergency room pleading with me, “Can I leave the hospital? I don’t want to be here. My family doesn’t have money.” He didn’t think of that when he decided to engage in a group fight. There is a consequence to every action.

I remember the day an African American man robbed and dragged my 74 year old mother on the concrete ground in board daylight. As she lies in the emergency room in the hospital, I reasoned with myself, “Here I am advocating for the rights of the African Americans, Latinos and APIs in the community, why does it has to be an African American who hurts my Mom? Then again, I did not think about my victims’ feelings when I committed my crime. Who am I to judge others?” There’re many reasons why people do what they do. It’s what I am going to do, that matters. Forgiveness is not easy, but it is necessary.

I remember standing on the stage in the Laney College auditorium with my poet friend SKIM performing our collaboration of “Breath is Life” to celebrate my birthday with friends and community members. I’m reminded that community is how we include and embrace each other. (more…)

2008 Reflections

Jan 02, 2009
» Engagements

The year of 2008 breezed by like a sparrow riding with the wind of a tornado. Sometimes I don’t even remember all the things that have had happened in my life.

I’ve been in the “Free World” for 22 months. However, I feel like I’ve been here all along. Who would’ve thought that I am still in the United States? My immigration status remains the same – deported. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is still waiting to secure my travel document from the Chinese government so it can process my deportation. I’m still under ICE’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program. I have to check in with ICE three times a month. My appeal in the ninth circuit court of appeal has been pending for over two years. I have no idea when the court will issue a decision.

Therefore, my status in the US is still uncertain. Fortunately, with the support and dedication of my friend Ben Wang, we were able to secure the commitment from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Congressman Mike Honda to express their support to sponsor a private bill on my behalf to stop my deportation in the 2009 congress. With Obama as the president, hopefully my chance of getting the private bill passed increases. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I continued to work full time in the Community Youth Center (CYC) of San Francisco. Since my 20 months of employment in CYC, I was promoted three times. Currently, I’m the Senior Project Coordinator responsible for two components that work on decreasing the violence in the schools and the community – the Community Response Network – Asian Pacific Islander (CRN-API) and Intervention.

The stigma of being a formerly incarcerated person has worked for me and against me. There are those who will continue to doubt me. That’s fine. As the saying goes, “You can lead a cow to water, but you cannot force it to drink.” One thing remains unchanged for me is my dedication to service the youth and community to the best of my ability. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to utilize my experiences to provide services to the often under-funded and under-served API population. Therefore, it is humbling to be accepted and validated by most of my peers and community for what I do. Because when you give me a chance, you give thousands of other an opportunity to change their lives.

I have attached a chronology of some of the things that I’ve done this year. They are the direct results of your support and faith in me.

In my reflection of this year, I realize that sometimes I’m disconnected with society. There’re so many things that I did not learn or understand as a result of my incarceration. Therefore, sometimes I unknowingly hurt the people I care about, myself included. At times, I find myself thinking that being in prison is better than being in the so called “Free World.” I feel like I am living in a lie and that my life is one big lie.

I know that I have much to reflect on and take direct actions to make changes. That’s why I ask all of you to keep me humble and continue to guide me in this finite journey of life.

Thank you for being there for me and being my mentors. Your presence in my life reminds me of how rich and lucky I am.

As we embrace the year of 2009, let’s continue to be kind and loving to ourselves so we can pass the same loving kindness to others.

May you and your families be happy and healthy.

My heart bows to you,
Your humble servant,

Eddy Zheng

happy new breath

2007 Reflections

Jan 02, 2008
» Reflections

Happy new year!

It’s a blessing to be able to type this message to you. Where as in the past, I have to rely on others to do so.

It’s been ten months since my release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Life is good.

After being in prison for 21 years, one would think that my transition to society would be a difficult one. But not so in my case. Since the day I returned to the free world, I just keep on moving forward.

As you can imagine, everything is new to me. I’ve experienced many first times. That’s why every day of my life is full of excitement.

However, what I find most rewarding and satisfying is doing work that I love. I’m working full time for the Community Youth Center (CYC) of San Francisco as a Project Coordinator for the Community Response Network – Asian Pacific Islander(CRN-API). I get to service the youth, family and community of San Francisco. Also, I’m privileged to be given opportunities to share my experiences in schools, colleges and community based organizations. It is like a dream come true.

As for my immigration status, not much has changed. My deportation order is still active. I do have an appeal in the ninth circuit appeal court. I don’t know what’s going to happen. What I do know is I am not going to worry about the things that I have no control of. I am just going with the flow and stay busy.

I have attached a chronology of some of the things that I’ve done since my release in February. Please take the time to read it because you’ve played an important part in all my accomplishments.

As always, I can never accomplish any of these without the continual support from all of you and the community. I am grateful for your presence in my life.

Please continue to keep me humble because you sustain me, because without you there is no me and because you are beautiful.

2008 is going to be another awesome year. Let’s keep on shining… living… loving…

happy new breath

Released into Limbo

Feb 27, 2007
» Legal Updates

Eddy Zheng has been released! Unfortunately, he may still be deported.

This only means that he is no longer being held in immigration detention, while the government attempts to carry out his deportation order.

Eddy is challenging his deportation order in federal court.

If the government is able to carry out the deportation order before the court overturns it, he will be sent to China.

Although this final hurdle remains, his release is a HUGE victory — the first time Eddy has been on the outside in 21 years.

Appeal of Deportation Order Rejected

Nov 03, 2006
» Legal Updates

The Board of Immigration Appeals rejected Eddy’s appeal of his deportation order. The BIA is a very conservative and unsympathetic board; Eddy and his lawyers will appeal this decision to the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. Eddy is also challenging his ongoing detention at the Yuba County Jail and hopefully will be released from custody during the appeals process.

Deportation Proceedings

Jul 19, 2006
» Legal Updates

The immigration judge ruled against Eddy Zheng and decided that he should be deported. In making his decision, the judge applied criteria that would be essentially impossible to meet. He explained that he would only stop Eddy’s deportation if it were a matter of national security, regardless of Eddy’s own rehabilitaton and community support.

Eddy and his lawyers believe that the judge incorrectly interpreted the criteria that should have been used to decide Eddy’s case. An appeal has been filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals, which usually gives its decision within 6 months. During this time, Eddy will remain in custody as an immigrant detainee at Yuba County Jail.

Eddy’s visitation hours at Yuba County Jail are now Sundays 7:45-8:45pm and Wednesdays 7-9pm.

Deportation Proceedings – Final Hearing

Jul 13, 2006
» Legal Updates

At the final hearing in Eddy Zheng’s deportation proceedings, the judge heard testimony to clarify specific questions he had about certain aspects of the argument Eddy Zheng presented against his deportation.

Last Stand of Eddie Zheng

Aug 10, 2005
» Articles

by Kara Platoni, East Bay Express

excerpt:

Eddy Zheng has hundreds of supporters, an army of lawyers, the governor’s okay, and a new wife. So why does homeland security want to deport him?


The skinny, money-obsessed kid was one of three teenagers who committed an intensely frightening robbery-kidnap as clumsy as it was horrific. All three young men were caught immediately. Zheng received the maximum sentence — seven years to life — and his attorneys expected him to serve eight or nine years.

By the late ’90s, Zheng already had served twice that. He’d also made a stunning transformation from junior hoodlum to star pupil at San Quentin. He taught himself English, and earned a GED and an associate of arts degree. He developed a deep love of poetry, self-publishing his own zines and organizing the prison’s first poetry slam. He worked with “scared straight” programs, urging teenagers to avoid his fate. He carried on a torrential correspondence with civic leaders and literary luminaries in the outside world, who were attracted by his intellectual voracity and his evident desire to atone for the past. He avoided drugs and eschewed gangs. He didn’t just do time; he did it well.

( read full article online here )

Money for Nothing

Apr 13, 2005
» Articles

Eddy Zheng got a 7-years-to-life prison sentence, served 19 years, and now faces deportation – a case study in our wasteful approach to punishing immigrants

by Momo Chang, San Francisco Bay Guardian

excerpt:

California has spent an estimated half a million dollars imprisoning and rehabilitating Xiao Fei “Eddy” Zheng, presumably with the goal of his successful reentry into society. And now that he’s finally been paroled, the government wants to deport him to China, a country he barely knows anymore.

Zheng is like the 45,000 other noncitizen inmates each year who are released from prison only to be passed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security. Yet unlike many others, he has a good lawyer and numerous Bay Area supporters who are challenging the almost automatic practice of deporting noncitizens – including legal residents like Zheng – who have committed crimes.

( read full article online here )

Deportation Proceeding #1

Mar 16, 2005
» Legal Updates

Eddy Zheng has first hearing in his deportation proceedings in San Francisco. Nearly 60 supporters pack the court room, and Judge Michael Yamaguchi recuses himself from the case.