After living over half of his life in San Quentin State Prison, Tith Ton might not see freedom after his release.
Ton, a Cambodian refugee who immigrated to America to escape genocide in 1981, might get deported by ICE to a country he barely knows following his release. A 1996 immigration enforcement law makes it possible for ICE to deport him if he’s convicted of certain crimes, despite the fact that Ton has permanent residency.
Ton was recommended for parole on July 19. Once an inmate recommended for parole, the governor has 150 days to deny or grant it. Ton’s 150 days went by without incident and ended on Dec. 16, which means Ton was granted parole. He should be released within the next week, possibly on Christmas Eve. Community advocates are calling upon Governor Gavin Newsom to stop his potential deportation by intervening and telling California’s prison system (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) to not hand Ton over to ICE. Newsom has stopped deportations for other Southeast Asian refugees before by pardoning them.