Xiuqing You, a Flushing man facing deportation after showing up for a green card interview, has been released from detainment, the Legal Aid Society announced on Wednesday night.
You, a husband and father of two young children who has been in the country for 18 years, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (ICE) on May 23 after appearing for the interview in Manhattan. He was held at a detention center in New Jersey as he faced deportation to China.
On June 20, the Legal Aid Society announced a federal judge issued an emergency stay motion for You, temporarily preventing his deportation. The judge also ordered that You be immediately released from ICE detention.
You, who attorneys with Legal Aid say left China to flee religious persecution, has no criminal record and runs a nail salon in Connecticut with his wife Yu Mei Chen, an American citizen. Chen filed a family-based petition for citizenship on her husband’s behalf, which was approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He was detained during his May 23 interview.
Chen’s recent interview with the Daily News about her husband’s detainment sparked outrage among New Yorkers who, on June 18, organized a rally at Foley Square in Manhattan to demand You’s immediate release. The rally was held just down the block from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office where You appeared for his interview.
In the days following the rally, 12 members of New York state’s congressional delegation penned a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) New York Field Office on behalf of You. The letter was signed by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congress members Grace Meng, Nydia Velázquez, Joe Crowley, Adriano Espaillat, Yvette Clarke, Kathleen Rice, Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries, José Serrano, Eliot Engel and Carolyn Maloney.
Meng also met with Chen on June 19 at the representative’s Flushing office, where Chen discussed her husband’s case and detainment and its effects on their family. The congresswoman celebrated news of You’s release in a statement on June 20.
“[You’s] fight is not finished but I’m very happy for his wife and two young children,” Meng said. “I’m also pleased to have intervened in his case. But as we welcome this development, let’s not forget about the many other families who still remain separated tonight. I thank all my colleagues who signed the letter we sent to ICE and I thank the Asian American Federation for their work, as well.”
An ICE spokesperson told QNS on June 18 that You’s detainment was “based on his final order of removal,” ordered by a judge in December 2000.
Updated on June 21 at 11:15 a.m.