Nan-Hui Jo, third from the left, enjoys a few minutes of freedom, after being sentenced to time served on April 28, and released from prison. She was detained by immigration enforcement, shortly after, and taken into custody.
Nan-Hui Jo, the woman who says the father of her child pushed her against the wall and choked her, has talked to the media for the first time since her arrest and subsequent conviction for child abduction.
Her case has been followed closely by those working to stop domestic violence as well as members of the Korean American community. Jo says she took off with her child to South Korea to escape the abuse.
“I couldn’t stay in this country. I had no help, and I couldn’t survive here. I didn’t have any other choice,” she told the Guardian
in a phone interview.
As far back as 2009, Jo wrote emails expressing discomfort with her boyfriend, an Iraq War veteran who experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Jesse is really dangerous for my baby so I just protec[t] my baby as a mom. Cause I don’t want any [child] get child abuse especially my baby,” she wrote then.
She ran off to South Korea shortly after that. She was arrested and charged with child abduction when she returned to the United States in 2014. She hasn’t seen her daughter Hwi since. A first trial ended in a hung jury, but she was subsequently convicted in Yolo County near Sacramento, after a retrial.
The judge reduced her charges to a misdemeanor and sentenced her to time served. Shortly after her release from prison, immigration officers arrested her again. She now faces deportation based on her criminal history.
If deported, she may never see her daughter again.
On the plus side, she has been working with Hwi’s father to arrange visitation and custody. There is a possibility she may be able to talk to Hwi over the phone. Both the mother and father agree they do not want their daughter to see Nan-Hui in prison.
Jo expressed her hopes to the Guardian.
“To stay in the US with my daughter. My daughter is here. I want to be with her. I should be allowed to have her.”
You can read about both sides of this case from the perspective of domestic violence workers and the District Attorney in the Guardian
170 Asian American Organizations Urge Homeland Security to Release Nan-Hui Jo
Judge Sentences Nan-Hui-Jo on Child Abduction Charge
Why Asian Americans Are Joining Domestic Violence Workers to #StandWithNanHui
Breaking Down the Unjust Guilty Verdict of a Domestic Violence Victim
District Attorney Responds to Critics of His Prosecution of a Domestic Violence Victim