Bracing for the worst, supporters of a 20-year-old San Francisco nursing student facing deportation are preparing to stage a news conference today to urge Sen. Barbara Boxer to intervene by sponsoring an emergency bill.
Shing Ma “Steve” Li, a community college student who was planning to transfer to San Francisco State University to finish his nursing degree, was arrested at his San Francisco home on Sept. 15 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
According to a statement released this morning by Li’s legal counsel, Sin Yen Ling, ICE plans on Monday to deport Li, who was born in Peru after his parents fled their native China to avoid political persecution.
Five years ago, Li’s family was denied political asylum from China and issued a removal order, according to the statement from Ling.
Students and other supporters who plan to come out with posters and banners say they are confused by the decision to deport Li, and call the act “senseless.”
“Steve is just as American as I am, we listen to the same music, eat the same food, speak the same language,” said Marilyn Luu, a friend of Li’s. “It’s senseless to deport him back to Peru where he will be homeless upon arrival.”
Although Li would have been eligible to remain in the U.S. under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, Congress failed to vote on the legislation.
The DREAM Act, which could be included as an amendment to other legislation next year, would permit certain undocumented students who arrived in the U.S. as minors and have completed at least two years of study at a four-year institution or at least two years of military service to remain in the country.
Li’s teacher and mentor Sang Chi said in the statement that “Steve was the type of student teachers love having in their classroom,” and noted that Li’s aspirations to serve low-income communities as a nurse will be cut short if rumors prove true on Monday.
Friends, supporters, and Li’s legal counsel plan to gather outside Boxer’s San Francisco office, located at 1700 Montgomery St., at noon today.