More on: ICE


Jan 11, 2011
» Reflections

Since everyone is making a big deal about today’s date being 1/11/11, I figure I will document some of the things that transpired for me.

Today happens to be the day I have to check in with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement.) I have to report to ICE every three months. So at 9 o’clock in the morning, my co-worker drove me to Sansome Street to do my check in. I wanted to do it early so I can be at work on time and I wanted to beat the crowd. However, when I went to the designated window on 5th floor, there’re too many people waiting to get their paperwork sign. so I decided to go back later.

I went back a couple of hours later, it was just routine. The ICE agent sign off on my paper and gave me a new date to go back in 3 months.

It’s Tuesday so I went to CYA Chad to do my workshop with the IMPACT program. We’re doing the Addiction module this series. The lead facilitator and I went to two different units to give an introduction of the module. It’s good to have two groups of captivated audience. A staff sat in our circle. Later he expressed how much he appreciates us for providing this program for the youth.

I enjoyed the ride to and from Chad. I get to talk to my co-facilitator and friend Sterling. We often reminisce how life’s twist and turn got us in the positions we’re in. We stay busy.

Reversal of Roles

Jan 10, 2011
» Reflections

Many years ago when I was still in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, I was locked up in Yuba County Jail in Marysville, California. ICE contracts with different county jails to keep people who are going through the deportation process in their custody. Out of boredom and a need for outside human connection, I would call some of my friends using the prepaid telephone card to talk to them. One of my male friends was always there to pick up the phone and happily chatted with me about any random things. He would also send me money to buy food and load up on my phone minutes. I always appreciate him for being there whenever I needed him.

Tonight, I received a call from Yuba County Jail. It’s my friend who was always there to pick up my call. ICE detained him and ordered his deportation to China after he lost his case. He has a wife and two toddlers at home. He doesn’t know whether when he will be deported or when ICE will release him on supervision. He’s waiting for luck to come.

We talked about the most random things for thirty minutes so he can kill some boredom. I’m grateful that he called.

2010 Reflections

Jan 02, 2011
» Reflections

Happy beginning of 2011 my dearest family, friends and supporters!

The year of 2010 definitely ended with a bang for me. I received much media attention in my effort to petition for a pardon from Governor Schwarzenegger before he leaves office. Bay Area mainstream KTVU channel 2 news did an interview with me. People’s station KPFA’s Hard Knock Radio, APEX Express, and Letters to Washington had me on their shows. The Chinese World Journal newspaper did two articles on me. KQED online news blogged about my deportation case. Many bloggers and websites across the nation helped spread the word of my online petition. hosted my online petition. Facebook was extremely useful in reaching out to people to support my cause. We had over 2,500 people signed the online pardon petition. None of it could have been possible without the support from friends and the community.


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…)

UC Berkeley, Guest Speaker

Feb 25, 2009
» Engagements

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
Spoke about the Prison Industrial Complex and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, at Professor Alan Ross’s Political Science class, to approximately 385 people.

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

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


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 )

03/2005 Bond Hearing

Mar 16, 2005
» Photos

Photos by Malcolm Yeung