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Author Topic: Looks like this Sacramento dude is getting deported back to Laos  (Read 158 times)

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Offline theking

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Among the thousands of firefighters who battled record-setting wildfires in California this year was Bounchan Keola, a 39-year-old immigrant from Laos serving a 28-year prison sentence for a gang-related shooting when he was 16.



One of roughly 1,800 inmates fighting fires, Keola said he struggled to see through the smoke during his first assignment while getting doused with chemicals used to fight the flames. When it was over, he was stunned to see people from the community lining up to thank him as he walked back to the bus.

“For the first time in my life, I felt good about myself,” he said.

Keola was set to be released in October. His sister took a week off work to get ready, buying him clothes, shoes and some face masks. But days before he was to be freed, Keola learned he would not be going home. Federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement picked him up and transferred him to an immigration detention facility in McFarland.

Keola is a legal resident of the U.S., having fled Laos with his parents when he was 2. But federal law allows for the deportation of immigrants with certain criminal convictions.

And while California law prohibits local agencies from cooperating with federal immigration authorities for some crimes, it doesn’t apply to the state prison system. California prison officials routinely cooperate with federal immigration authorities, advocates say, transferring released inmates to their custody so they can begin deportation proceedings.

This year alone, the state has transferred an estimated 1,265 inmates to federal immigration authorities, according to Sarah Lee, community advocate for the Asian Law Caucus.

California’s Democratic leaders, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, have proudly battled the Trump administration over immigration. They’ve even passed laws giving government-funded health benefits to young adults living in the country illegally.

But Democratic leaders have been dismayed by Newsom’s policy of transferring inmates to federal immigration authorities. They have repeatedly asked him to stop, even passing a bill last year to effectively ban the practice. But Newsom vetoed it, saying he was concerned it would “negatively impact prison operations.”

The fight surfaced again on Thursday, when the state Senate called a public hearing to question California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials about the transfers.

“These are people who have done their time. They paid their debt to society,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco. “We should be integrating them back into our community, and not facilitating the Trump deportation machine.”

Newsom’s office did not respond to a request for comment. But Heidi Dixon, chief of case records services for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, cited a law that says the state “shall cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service ... for the purpose of conducting and expediting deportation hearings and subsequent placement of deportation holds.”

“It’s our responsibility to notify ICE of the offender’s release date. “It’s up to ICE on whether or not they choose to pick up the offender,” Dixon told lawmakers during a public hearing.

Wiener disagreed, saying the Newsom administration was interpreting the law “as broad as someone could possibly stretch the language.”

Keola spoke to reporters by phone on Thursday from a federal immigration detention center. His lawyer, Anoop Prasad, said Keola’s family fought alongside U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam war. They fled the country when the war ended to avoid persecution and settled in California in 1988, where they became permanent residents.

He said Keola lived in a poor neighborhood with high rates of violence and joined a gang for protection. In 2001, he was convicted of second-degree attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

But during his time in prison, Keola’s good behavior eventually earned him a security level low enough to volunteer as a firefighter, Prasad said.

A federal judge has ordered Keola to be deported, but before that can happen Laos has to agree to take him. Prasad said Keola doesn’t have a birth certificate or other documents showing he was born in Laos, and he doesn’t have any family members who live in the country. Laos officials plan to interview him next month.

“I’m trying to be patient, just hoping that I’ll get out of here soon and not face deportation and go back to a country I know nothing of and where my family and I fled for a better life,” he said. “I’m just asking for a second chance to live this American life and to be a firefighter.”





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Offline ProudLao

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Re: Looks like this Sacramento dude is getting deported back to Laos
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2020, 04:53:57 PM »
I’m 50/50 on this. Just because you have been locked up and has a good behavior doesn’t excuse your past wrong doings. There are consequences to all our actions.



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Offline Kong Vang

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Re: Looks like this Sacramento dude is getting deported back to Laos
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2020, 05:10:53 PM »
Until we can find a way to penetrate human thoughts and feelings, we will not know a person's true intent. Is he really remorseful and has he really changed or is he just doing this because of his fear of being deported?

My first cousin is in the same boat... he comes from a broken family, his dad die when he was toddler. His mom married my uncle, who loved him, but he was always rebellious and did not feel like he belong. He's very naïve and impressionable ... murdered a rival gang member in '93 just to be accepted.  Fast forward to 3 years ago, he was released. He's a change man both physically and mentally. He has lost a lot of his hair, teeth and is 1000% more humble and patience now. He talks about his regrets and is working as an apprentice under a roofer.

I truly believe he as reformed and a changed man. I would even say he regretted the years lost in prison.

I like to believe we all have the capacity to change... 



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Offline DuMa

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Re: Looks like this Sacramento dude is getting deported back to Laos
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2020, 05:40:46 PM »
Until we can find a way to penetrate human thoughts and feelings, we will not know a person's true intent. Is he really remorseful and has he really changed or is he just doing this because of his fear of being deported?

My first cousin is in the same boat... he comes from a broken family, his dad die when he was toddler. His mom married my uncle, who loved him, but he was always rebellious and did not feel like he belong. He's very naïve and impressionable ... murdered a rival gang member in '93 just to be accepted.  Fast forward to 3 years ago, he was released. He's a change man both physically and mentally. He has lost a lot of his hair, teeth and is 1000% more humble and patience now. He talks about his regrets and is working as an apprentice under a roofer.

I truly believe he as reformed and a changed man. I would even say he regretted the years lost in prison.

I like to believe we all have the capacity to change...

You regret in taking a life or regret of your missing years, those are two different things. 

In terms of some religious text, if you are of the dayam, you are dayam and tormented for life. 



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Offline nightrider

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Re: Looks like this Sacramento dude is getting deported back to Laos
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2020, 10:14:44 PM »
If we're supposed to be righteous and fair as what the constitution was written for. Our justice system has punished these individuals, and they have done their time, and if reformed to better the country, I believe it is only right that they deserve a chance to be reintegrated in our society. If not, we're not a nation of fairness nor righteousness. If it were me and I'm felon or murder, I will reoffend/kill-kill-kill to be killed knowing there's no redemption.



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Offline Visualmon

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Re: Looks like this Sacramento dude is getting deported back to Laos
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2020, 02:01:50 AM »
What about those European criminals that are not born in U.S.? Don't they share the same fate as this Asian dude?



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Offline YAX

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Re: Looks like this Sacramento dude is getting deported back to Laos
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2020, 07:44:34 PM »
I’m 50/50 on this. Just because you have been locked up and has a good behavior doesn’t excuse your past wrong doings. There are consequences to all our actions.
there is. The consequence was 38 years in prison. Sounds like now, they want to add to that consequence. Is that fair?



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Offline ProudLao

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Re: Looks like this Sacramento dude is getting deported back to Laos
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2020, 08:43:34 PM »
there is. The consequence was 38 years in prison. Sounds like now, they want to add to that consequence. Is that fair?

Yes, it’s fair if your crime or list of crimes is ground for deportation. 38 or 50 years does not mean what you did has been forgiven by those who are suffering because of your convictions.



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Offline DaCurse

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Re: Looks like this Sacramento dude is getting deported back to Laos
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2020, 09:04:11 PM »
he's staying folks. it's really a scare tactic. Not saying they won't do it, but he's really being used as a scapegoat, or possibly in on it as a scare tactic to show young refugees not to live a life of crime. Most of these guys are secretly released, and are heavily convinced to resettled far away from their place of crime to prevent any possible retaliation from past or present rivals. Keep it on the low though guys.

JMO, I canbe wrong. But I'm usually right. lols



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