The plight of a mother and domestic violence survivor continues. It’s a story in which injustice for victims of domestic abuse and a broken immigration system meet.
Nan-Hui Jo has been in the Yolo County Jail for over seven months on charges of child abduction. A jury Tuesday found her guilty in an unanimous verdict. In an article published by AsAm News, Jesse Charlton admitted to committing acts of violence against Nan-Hui including at least one incident in front of their daughter. While Charlton was never formally convicted of domestic abuse, Nan-Hui called the police on two separate occasions but was denied protection when the officers chose not to file a report. Nan-Hui has currently applied for a U Visa, a special visa granting residency for victims of crimes. She is currently awaiting sentencing in April. This case has garnered support from people who feel domestic abuse survivors and immigrants are not supported, yet are often subjected to injustice and sometimes punishment.
According to the Huffington Post, in 29 states, battered mothers can receive equal or worse punishment than the perpetrators. Some states have laws which a domestic abuse survivor can face up to life in prison if they “fail to protect their children from harm at the hands of their abusive spouses, even if they themselves have never inflicted harm. Domestic abuse survivors can also be punished if they are also undocumented immigrants. When survivors like Nan-Hui are detained by immigration law enforcement, the children are often left in the care of the abusive party. Detention often deteriorates mental health. Detention facilities do not yet adequately address the mental health needs of female detainees. Nan-Hui, being imprisoned for over seven months, has not been allowed to contact her daughter while she has been in the custody of the father.
As immigration law enforcement has been increasingly strict since the 9/11 attacks, many undocumented women are afraid to seek help from law enforcement. They are afraid they may be deported or separated from their child. On February 17, 2014, the federal government announced that “immigration officials are no longer screening out undocumented immigrants who may be eligible for deportation relief under President Barack Obama’s most recent executive action, following a Texas judge’s injunction last week on the deferred-action programs”. Immigrants already being watched by ICE or current detainees may now face a greater risk of deportation. With the paths to citizenship being increasingly narrowed and deportation being a real concern for people like Nan-Hui, many may believe they may be criminalized for their immigrant status even if they are victims of crimes themselves.
As mentioned in another article I wrote about Nan-Hui, Charlton testified to throwing and choking Nan-Hui, and in at least one case in front of their daughter. According to California Penal Code 287.5, Nan-Hui should be free from conviction of child abuse charges if she is a domestic abuse survivor or if she had reason to believe that the child may suffer physical or emotional harm. Domestic abuse in front of the child is considered emotional harm. While the highest priority should have been the welfare of their daughter, Vitz Da, the court prioritized the rights of the father — a father that has shown a pattern of erratic and aggressive behavior and has admitted to domestic violence. Nan-Hui had little to no emotional support from the estranged father of her daughter. She had no stable means to financially provide for their daughter. She was afraid of Jesse Charlton’s mental instability. The VA says he is in a 70% disabled state of PTSD. Those factors led her to believe the best option for her child would be to take the child to South Korea. Domestic abuse survivors should not have to be punished for fleeing a potentially violent partner. In this broken immigration and domestic abuse judicial system, I can only hope others can create awareness of the issues that plague women and undocumented immigrants and fight for reform and justice.
People have gone to social media to voice their discontent for the verdict. We can spread the news of Nan-Hui’s case and share how we can help in the way listed below.
— AAAFund (@AAAFund) March 3, 2015
Nan-Hui Jo was found GUILTY in her trial. Call ICE Director Craig Meyer at (415) 844-5512 & ask them to drop the ICE hold! #StandwithNanHui
— 18millionrising (@18millionrising) March 3, 2015
Police failed Nan-Hui, leaving her on her own to deal with an unstable and violent partner. Don't let the courts fail her. #StandWithNanHui
— Juliet Shen (@Juliet_Shen) February 25, 2015
— e d ☁ (@_salonga) March 2, 2015
———- TAKE ACTION NOW: STOP HER DEPORTATION! ———-
- JOIN US FOR SAN FRANCISCO ICE/CBP RALLY & ACTION
Meet us at the local U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office (33 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA) on THURSDAY, MARCH 5 @ 10AM for a rally and delivery of our petitions & demands. We will also be walking over to the ICE office (blocks away) for a similar action.
We will be delivering the prosecutorial discretion to both the local San Francisco ICE and CBP offices to demand the stop to Nan-Hui’s deportation and rally for her release from their hold.
- SIGN & SHARE THE *NEW* PETITION: bit.ly/standwithnanhui
With updated info that Nan-Hui is under CBP hold as well, we have identified ICE and CBP as both important targets to pressure.
- CALL IN YOUR SUPPORT @ 10AM PST/1PM EST
We have heard an outpouring of support from all across the county. Please join our action remotely by calling into the ICE and CBP offices at the time of our action. Demand that ICE/CBP exercise its prosecutorial discretion and drop Nan-Hui’s case
WHO TO CALL:
+ CBP Field Operations Director, Brian Humphrey. (415) 744-1530 Ext. 234.
+ ICE Field Director Craig Meyer. (415) 844-5512. Press #4.
EXAMPLE SCRIPT: “I am calling to ask Director Humphrey/Director Meyer to drop the immigration hold against Ms. Nan-Hui Jo (A 098 906 641) and allow her to reunite with her six-year-old daughter. Ms. Jo is a survivor of domestic violence and her case should be considered under the parental interests directive. I ask that CBP & ICE exercise its prosecutorial discretion and drop Ms. Jo’s deportation case.”
**Local field office has the prosecutorial discretion to drop the charges against Nan-Hui. But you can also call ICE’s newly appointed director, Sarah Saldaña, in their DC office: 202-732-3000.
- KEEP TWEETING AT ICE & DIRECTOR SALDAÑA
Tweet at @wwwicegov. Make sure to include: Nan-Hui Jo’s identification (A098 906 641) and the hashtag #SarahSaldaña
Sample tweets at goo.gl/ml2KKU or see below:
#SarahSaldaña exercise discretion: drop #deportation charges against DV victim Ms. Nan-Hui Jo (A 098 906 641) #StandWithNanHui @wwwicegov
Drop deportation charges on domestic violence survivor Nan-Hui Jo (A098 906 641). Let her stay with her child #StandWithNanHui @wwwicegov
#SarahSaldaña Nan-Hui Jo (A098 906 641) is under parental interests directive, not deportation: drop charge! #StandWithNanHui @wwwicegov
*If you have better sample tweets please post em!*
**SAVE THE DATE! APRIL 1ST @ 1:30PM**
Since the judge has issued a probation, Nan-Hui will have her sentencing decision issued on April 1st, Dept 4, at 1:30 pm at Yolo County Courthouse (725 Court Street, Woodland, CA 95695). WE NEED TO PACK THAT COURTROOM. Hope to see you there!
If you’ve already signed the NEW petition, have called ICE/CBP a bajillion times, AND CAN SPARE SOME $$, consider contributing:
“We need your help to raise the necessary funds to cover an appeal of the “child abduction” conviction and related costs for Nan-Hui’s subsequent immigration and child custody hearings as well as any necessary personal costs while she awaits future court hearings. ”
Thank you so much for so many signatures on the new petition already! Can’t stress enough how urgent this is. Nan-Hui’s attorney had a very strong suspicion that ICE was waiting in the wings of the courthouse ready to take her directly to the SF detention center. Please please please sign and share: bit.ly/standwithnanhui. This time, each time you sign, your email gets directly sent to ICE and Customs and Border Patrol’s inbox. Let’s jam this unjust system up!!!
We hit close to 6k signature. Let’s get to 10k!!!