Sam Levin of The Guardian interviewed Salesh “Sal” Prasad, a client of our Immigration Defense Unit, who is an LGBTQ artist and activist who was granted parole after transforming his life in prison, but never got a taste of his hard-earned freedom because prison officials transferred him directly into ICE custody. He’s spent the last 10 months in ICE detention, during which time his mother passed away from COVID, and ICE would not allow him to attend her funeral. Sal, who came to the US at age 6, is now facing deportation to Fiji where he faces discrimination and persecution not only for his sexual orientation, but for being an Indo-Fijian minority.

There’s a large network of immigrant rights and faith leaders supporting Sal, and San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen introduced a resolution to support his application for pardon from Governor Newsom, which could prevent him from being deported. To support Sal’s pardon, please sign and share this petition. #FreeSal

“If I’m deported, I won’t survive. I won’t make it in Fiji. There’s no protection there for me. There’s no support,” [sal prasad] said during a recent call from Ice’s Golden State annex in California’s Central Valley. “I’d be forced to be somebody I’m not. I don’t want to hide again. I should be able to love who I want to love.”

“For people like Sal, the Biden priorities are not resulting in more compassionate policies,” said Maddie Boyd, Prasad’s attorney. “Ice is holding people as public safety risks even after they have been determined not to be public safety risks.”

“The system is designed to push people to give up on their immigration case and instead be deported and permanently separated from their family,” said Angela Chan, chief of policy at the San Francisco public defender’s office.

“Give me a fighting chance,” Prasad said. “The parole board said, ‘We believe in the changed person that you are,’ and that I’m not a threat. So why am I still in detention?… I may never see my family again,” he added.


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