Sunday, February 21, 2010

Judge going to bat to prevent an immigrant and juvenile offender from being deported

From the New York Times is an interesting story about Qing Hong Wu, an immigrant who came to the US from China at the age of five and who got caught up in a gang of muggers when he was fifteen. Heeding the advice of the judge who sent him to rehabilitation for three to nine years, he turned his life around. When he applied for US citizenship years later, the judicial system "discovered" his teenage arrest and now he is being deported. That is, unless the same judge can stop it:
The teenager, a gifted student, was pleading guilty to a string of muggings committed at 15 with an eclectic crew in Manhattan’s Chinatown. The judge, who remembered the pitfalls of Little Italy in the 1950s, urged him to use his sentence — three to nine years in a reformatory — as a chance to turn his life around.

“If you do that, I am here to stand behind you,” the judge, Michael A. Corriero, promised. The youth, Qing Hong Wu, vowed to change.

Mr. Wu kept his word. He was a model inmate, earning release after three years. He became the main support of his immigrant mother, studying and working his way up from data entry clerk to vice president for Internet technology at a national company.

But almost 15 years after his crimes, by applying for citizenship, Mr. Wu, 29, came to the attention of immigration authorities in a parallel law enforcement system that makes no allowances for rehabilitation. He was abruptly locked up in November as a “criminal alien,” subject to mandatory deportation to China — the nation he left at 5, when his family immigrated legally to the United States.

Now Judge Corriero, 67, retired from the bench, is trying to keep his side of the bargain.

“Mr. Wu earned his second chance,” the judge wrote in a letter supporting a petition to Gov. David A. Paterson for a pardon that would erase Mr. Wu’s criminal record and stop the deportation proceedings. “He should have the opportunity to remain in this country.”
In today's mix of law-and-order and anti-immigrant sentiment (at least as far as perceptions of crime are concerned), his chances may not be that great. I'm not so sure a one-strike policy against legal immigrants is such a hot idea; at the very least there should be allowances made for such turnarounds.


  1. “Mr. Wu earned his second chance,” the judge wrote in a letter supporting a petition to Gov. David A. Paterson for a pardon that would erase Mr. Wu’s criminal record and stop the deportation proceedings.

    No, he didn't. He earned (at least) a juvie sentence and a ticket on a slow boat to China 15 years ago. Unfortunately, due to some judge who apparently felt his duty to protect the wellbeing of a violent foreign thug outweighed his duty to protect US citizens, his ticket took some time to process.

    Insanity. Absolute insanity. And typical NYT. This is how we get things like the Bologna family murder.

  2. Hmm... I can definitely see the virtue in following the law, but I see the law itself as needing tweaking. The law, the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, wasn't aimed at cases like his, apparently. That he was a minor when it occurred and he was sentenced to juvie instead of prison also gives me pause.

    If he were eighteen and had just committed the crime, I would have less of a problem with deporting him, but not after he (and the judicial system apparently) were unaware of his impending deportation. He thought he had a clean slate, the state treated him as if he had a clean slate, and he turned his life around. It would seem to me there should be a statute of limitations on this.

  3. To whom it may concern:

    My name is Jenny Gong, the sister of Qing Hong Wu. I am contacting you to first and foremost thank you for addressing your opinion on this ordeal my brother is in at the current time. I am writing to you for support of my brother's situation in preventing him from deportation and release from detention.

    The following are ways in which we'd like you to support us:

    1. There is an online public petition which will be sent to the Governor of NY. Will you please sign the online petition to support Qing:

    2. You can also help by contacting the Manhattan D.A.'s office at 212-335-9000 and request that he (DA Vance) grant Qing Wu retroactive youthful offender status

    3. Also, if you can, will you please write letters of support to Governor Paterson' office with a carbon copy to Peter Kiernan, Office of the Counsel to the Governor.

    Governor Paterson

    State Capitol

    Albany, NY 12224

    Peter Kiernan, Esq

    Office of the Counsel to the Governor

    State Capitol

    Albany, NY 12224

    4. Please help us spread the word to sign the online petition and contact the DA’s office as well as the Governor’s office. When you have done so please forward the information to your friends and family. Every call and comment counts for support and help Qing reunite with his family.

    I thank you in advance for your help and support.

    If there is any questions or comments, feel free to email me.


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