Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Community Calls for Release of Loving Husband and Father of U.S. Citizens, Deportation to India Will Devastate Family

LOS ANGELES – The family of Gurmukh Singh and immigrant rights organizations held an emergency press conference today to call on Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) to stop removal proceedings and immediately release Singh, a loving father and husband of U.S. citizens, who has been in ICE detention for five months. Based on Obama administration guidelines, Singh should be granted prosecutorial discretion and be reunited with his U.S. citizen daughters, who are 11 and 14 years old, and his U.S. citizen wife.

Singh is in detention and under threat of deportation because he had attended an interview at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) office in connection with a family visa application, which his U.S. citizen wife submitted on his behalf. Instead of taking an important step toward staying permanently in the U.S. with his family, he was taken into custody. A previous application by Singh for asylum had been denied, but he was not aware of the resulting “notice to appear” from U.S.C.I.S. and his attorney had failed to advise him about it. However, this “failure” made him subject to arrest, which ICE agents undertook during the family petition interview. In front of his wife and children, Singh was taken away, unable even to say goodbye. During his detention, Singh’s family petition was approved yet he remains detained and separated from his family. He could still be deported at any moment.

Singh is essential to his family’s economic stability. The family’s main breadwinner, he provides for a wife who has diabetes, his two children, as well as his ailing parents. His separation from his family has devastated the entire Singh family, emotionally and psychologically.

Balwinder Kaur, Singh’s wife, spoke about the impact of her husband’s detention and imminent deportation on their family. “It has been extremely hard on our family to not have Gurmukh with us, our life has completely changed during the day that was supposed to be a momentous occasion. How am I supposed to support my kids and my in-laws without Gurmukh? He has been key in ensuring that our family is economically and emotionally stable.”

Manpreet Saini, Singh’s 14-year-old daughter, said, “ Everything is out of place; nothing is going right at home. My dad was the color in our life. This entire situation made it difficult to focus on school and has really changed our lives. All I want is my dad back so my family can be happy again.”

During his detention for the past five months, a groundswell of community support for Singh has been building, calling for him to be released, his removal be terminated, and for him to be reunited with his family. Keep Our Families Together (KOFT), a movement led by immigrant youth and undocumented families in Santa Ana, CA, started a campaign around Singh’s case.

“We don’t want any more families to be broken apart by the deportation practices of ICE,” said Claudia Perez of KOFT. “We demand that ICE immediately release Mr. Singh and reunite him with his family who love and miss him desperately.”

Leading organizations and elected officials alike have joined in the call. Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Orange County Labor Federation, U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal, U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, and Garden Grove School District Board Member Bao Nguyen have shown support for Singh’s release and for him to be reunited with his family.

Singh is a perfect candidate for prosecutorial discretion under internal ICE policy (Morton Memo and the Facilitating Parental Interests in the course of Civil Immigration enforcement activities directive from ICE). Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and Advancing Justice – Los Angeles filed a request yesterday with ICE to reopen Singh’s case and grant prosecutorial discretion.

“We are here today to call on ICE to adhere to its own guidelines and reunite Gurmukh Singh and his family,” said Connie Choi, immigrant rights staff attorney at Advancing Justice – LA. “Mr. Singh has deep ties here in the U.S., he has two minor U.S. citizen daughters and a U.S. citizen wife. Mr. Singh clearly qualifies for prosecutorial discretion under the Morton memo and parental interests memos issued by ICE.”

Community members also were urged to contact ICE officials to release Singh and reunite him with his family:

 

San Francisco ICE Field Office:

Craig Meyer, Assistant Field Office Director: (415) 844-5690

Leslie Ungerman, Chief Counsel: (415) 705-4604

Timothy S. Aitken, Field Office Director: (415) 844-5512

Contact: 
Ki Kim, Communications Director: 213-241-0227; [email protected]
About Advancing Justice - LA: 
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice - LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice - LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
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Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.