Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Don't Deport Flushing Immigrant Father, Lawmakers Urge ICE

Jun 19, 2018
In The News

FLUSHING, QUEENS -- A Queens immigrant father quickly captured New Yorkers' attention after for being torn from his wife and young children in a green card interview. Now, he's caught the ear of at least a dozen U.S. congress members.

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) penned a letter on Monday signed by 11 other New York congress members urging Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's New York Director Tom Decker not to deport Xiu Qing You, 39, to his native China.

You lived in Flushing with his wife - a U.S. citizen - and their two children until May 23, when he walked into ICE's office at 26 Federal Plaza expecting a green card but instead left in handcuffs. He was shipped to a New Jersey detention center, where he currently awaits deportation to China, a homeland he hasn't called "home" in 18 years. 

That was the last time his wife, Yu Mei Chen, ever saw him. prompted outrage and a rally outside the ICE office on Monday. Protesters called on the agency to free You and allow him to reunite with his 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.

Later that day, Queens lawmakers followed suit with a letter asking Decker to review You's case and allow him to "remain here at home with his family and continue to work to support them."

ICE spokeswoman Rachael Yong Yow confirmed You's arrest, and said proceedings to have him deported began just months after he moved to the U.S. in January 2000 without a valid entry document.

When an immigration judge ordered he be deported that December, You filed an appeal but it was rejected within the month, she said. He motioned to reopen his case in May 2008, but that was also dismissed months later in September.

Meng noted in her letter that, after nearly two decades in the U.S., You has maintained a squeaky clean record with law enforcement and has become the breadwinner for his family. His wife and children are "distraught by his absence," she wrote.

"His removal would be cruel, and financial and emotional hardships would fester if he is no longer to remain in the United States," the letter reads.

Meng met with Chen on Tuesday in her Flushing office, where she said they discussed the family's devastation over her husband's case.

Chen previously told the Daily News that since her husband was detained, she's been "on the verge of a mental collapse" trying to juggle caring for their children with long hours at the couple's nail salon in Connecticut.

She broke down again at the rally for her husband, weeping as she spoke to the crowd through a translator.

"I've had so much pressure to deal with," she said.

Meng vowed to keep a close eye on You's case in a statement on Monday slamming his detainment.

"This case is the latest example of how the administration's cruel immigration policies are destroying lives," she said. 

Click here to view the, signed by U.S. Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand and Reps. Nydia Velázquez, Joe Crowley, Adriano Espaillat, Yvette Clarke, Kathleen Rice, Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries, José Serrano, Eliot Engel and Carolyn Maloney.


(Lead photos courtesy of the Office of U.S. Rep. Grace Meng)