Updated:Local Man Faces Deportation Because It’s an Election Year

Updated: This is what I get for finding a topic one day, and writing about it the next day, without checking back for any breaking developments. Ryan says that things are looking better for Dong, and Senators Jim Webb and Joe Biden have gotten involved in his case. There won’t be any hard news on it until Monday, and he’s still pretty much at the mercy of the ICE officer, so respectful communication with relevant Congressional offices is still a good thing.

I don’t know Ryan Conner personally, having only seen him around at some local open mics and whatnot, but this story was passed on to me by a mutual acquaintance and it needs some attention.

Ryan’s parents are big-hearted people who have adopted a number of children, including Sun Tao Dong, who was smuggled into the country as a boy by a Chinese gang who had assured his (biological) parents that they would ensure Dong had all his paperwork in order. Labyrinthine as the US immigration process is, his parents thought his immigration would be legal, and sent Dong and his two siblings to the US, where they were eventually placed for foster care by the Catholic Charities.

I’m sure you can see where this is going- the gang had smuggled the children into the country, and Dong and his adoptive family have spent the 14 years since trying to sort out his immigration status. Every time it has looked like they were getting close to at least getting Dong a green card, politics has intervened, and anti-illegal immigrant hysteria has complicated Dong’s case.

Dong is currently being detained by the Department of Homeland Security, which, conveniently in time for election season, asserts that an earlier deportation order trumps his subsequent (and legally issued) US work permit. For the crime of being sent to America as a child by parents who wanted a better life for him, Dong faces deportation to China, where he will face imprisonment and execution as a traitor by the Chinese government.

There’s nothing quite like a duly elected representative of the people zealously advocating for their interests.

As the appeals process started, our Congressman, Tom Davis, pushed for and successfully got a Green Card for another constituent in the exact same position. My mom and Dong wrote to him. His reply stated that he had already done it for one person and that should be enough.

Virginia residents, it’s time to let Rep. Davis know what you think. While you’re at it, contact Senator Jim Webb’s office. If you’re a Digg user, you know what to do.

4 Comments so far

  1. bhrome on March 7th, 2008 @ 8:59 am

    His reply stated that he had already done it for one person and that should be enough.

    Umm, excuse me? HELLO? Mr. Davis, you sir, are teh suck. You work FOR THE PEOPLE here.

    I’m sorry, that attitude just rubs me the wrong way. No wonder I didn’t vote for him.

  2. Don (dc_don) on March 7th, 2008 @ 10:05 am

    I don’t care much for Davis – though I appreciate his support of DC voting rights – but in fairness, is it possible that he or his office meant that putting the screws to ICE over this other family should have accomplished greasing the path for others in a similar situation? Stupid, perhaps, but for all his jackassery I’m not prepared to assume Davis was -that- inept based on a third-hand telling.

  3. Tiffany Bridge (tiffany) on March 7th, 2008 @ 10:23 am

    Since I think the path SHOULD be greased for others in that situation, I’ll go ahead and argue that it’s even worse.

    As a nation, we’ve created a complicated-to-the-point-of-impossible process for immigrating legally, unless you happen to have landed yourself a job or a spouse first. We then further complicate matters by refusing to grant asylum applications to immigrants from a particular oppressive regime, lest we piss off said oppressive regime. And then, when some guy spends his whole life trying to be a model citizen without benefit of citizenship, we endanger his life for political expediency. We set desperate people up for failure, and then call them criminals when they do desperate things, despite the fact that they don’t actually harm anyone.

    So even if Davis was taking the "slippery slope" argument, I’ll still call it out for what it is- cowardice, lack of principle, and insufficient dedication to the needs of his constituents.

  4. Don (dc_don) on March 7th, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

    I don’t disagree. I grew up in Miami watching the government allow pretty much any Cuban who could float over to stay and turning away almost every Haitian. Because, of course, the Haitians were "economic refugees" where the Cubans were "political refugees."

    Surely the fact that the Haitians reflected less light had NOTHING to do with it, right? Certainly the Cubans were coming here not because their government had screwed the economic pooch and left them with a lower quality of life, but because it was a COMMUNIST quality of life, which is bad.

    Unless you’re Chinese. Then it’s okay.

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