How California Double Punishes Immigrant Communities

Double Punishment is the unjustpolicy used against immigrants who face deportation after already being punished by the criminal justice system [1].

About 70% of people in ICE detention in the U.S. were directly transferred from prison or jail to ICE right after their release [2]. When local and state law enforcement collaborate with ICE to provide immigrants for detention, it tears families apart and harms our communities. Human Impact’s Public Health Talking Points states: “In the U.S., Southeast Asian communities are 3 to 4 times more likely to be deported for old convictions than other immigrant communities. In 2018, 16,000 of the 2.7 million Southeast Asians in the U.S. had received final orders of deportation.” [1] #StopICEtransfers”


Poor immigrants and refugees were disproportionately impacted by “tough on crime” policies.Immigrant youth primarily grew up in U.S. metropolitan cities where they experienced poverty, gang violence, and economic instability. In the 80’s – 90’s immigrant youth were one of the primary targets that were funneled into the criminal legal system in California [3, 4]. The outcome was an overrepresentation ofimmigrant youth in the U.S prison system.


“One and a half years in ICE was worse than nineteen years in prison.”

Asian Prisoner Support Committee Community Advocate Borey “Peejay” Ai, during Beyond Belief: A Cambodian Refugee’s Story of Gangs, Prison, and Absolution [5].

Pardons are an underutilized power thatthe Governor can enact to stop an activedeportation order and restore the legal rights of the person facing deportation.

Deportation is traumatic. A pardon would stop the cycle of harm and violence on immigrant and refugee families, allowing them to rebuild their lives, and providing a pathway for families to stay together. California has more incarcerated people than most countries, and California’s prisons is the largest source of ICE arrests in the states. Under former Gov. Jerry Brown, the role of executive clemency wasexpanded to recognize the harm caused by the mass incarceration crisis and to underscore the value of redemption and rehabilitation.

BUT Governor Newsom has drastically reduced the use of clemency.


Beloved community advocates, leaders, & healers Maria, Ke, Bun, and Peejay escaped violence abroad, only to face it in the U.S. & be funneled through the criminal legal system.

As APSC4, they educate organizations on immigration, mentor at-risk youth, & give reentry support to the formerly incarcerated. But they remain in immigration limbo &are at risk of beingre-detained & deported by ICE. Being re-detained and deported would separate them from their loved ones, cause re-trauma, and even death.

Gov. Newsom needs to pardon APSC4 to protect them from deportation now!

let’s tell Gov. Newsom to pardon APSC4!


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[1] Flatten the Curve: Protecting Public Health Requires that Jails Stop Transferring People to ICE

[2] Human Impact’s Stop ICE Transfers Talking Points

[3] CA’s Anti-Immigrant Proposition 187 is Voided, Ending State’s Five-Year Battle with ACLU, Rights Groups

[4] Estimating Undocumented Immigration to California

[5] Beyond Belief: A Cambodian Refugee’s Story of Gangs, Prison, and Absolution

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    PARDON APSC4: Our beloved family APSC 4: Borey “Peejay” Ai, Nghiep “Ke” Lam, Chanthon Bun, and Maria Legarda are at risk of deportation. Tell Governor Newsom to pardon them NOW so they can remain home with their families and community. Here’s some things you can do!
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