There's a campaign to get CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to pardon Eddy Zheng, a Chinese American community leader and former inmate at San Quentin, before the next governor takes over in January. The hope is to prevent Zheng's deportation to China.
Zheng committed a crime -- kidnapping and robbery -- when he was 16 years-old and served over 20 years for a 7-to-life sentence. Upon his release in 2007, federal authorities tried to deport him; under new and much stricter immigration laws, he is deportable because he is not a US citizen and has committed an "aggravated felony" (a category created while Zheng was imprisoned), even though Zheng was a green card holder and legally in the US.
Many have argued that he was being punished twice, and that he has already served a lengthy sentence for a crime he committed as a youngster. In addition, Zheng became a model citizen and leader while at San Quentin, and since his release from prison, has worked directly with young people in the San Francisco/Bay Area.
Zheng's story has been well-documented:
- "Throwing Away the Key" by Bernice Yeung, freelance journalist and Hyphen board member, SF Weekly
- "The Last Stand of Eddie Zheng" by Kara Platoni, East Bay Express
- "Inside Men" by Pia Sarkar, Hyphen editor, Hyphen magazine
- Eddy's blog
From the campaign:
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 (San Francisco) 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.
Eddy Zheng has submitted an application for clemency with Governor Schwarzenegger. Please tell the Governor to grant Eddy a pardon, which may prevent Eddy’s deportation to China.
Zheng has garnered community awards and has the support of many well-known community leaders and politicians. He also has support from regular folks in the community, including many Asian/Pacific Islander Americans, but also Black, Latino and many others.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!