Almost a year after being arrested on child abduction charges for taking her then-infant daughter to South Korea in order to flee an allegedly-abusive relationship after her U.S. visa expired, single mom Nan-Hui Jo has been released on bond by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“We are incredibly relieved that Nan-Hui has finally been released and is one step closer to resolving this year-long nightmare. It is unthinkable that ICE was days away from permanently separating a mother from her child because of a system that prioritizes deportation quotas over the well-being of a family,” said Saira Hussain, Staff Attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus, in a statement. “We must recognize this case within the context of the growing criminalization of survivors of domestic violence and the undocumented community.”
Jo’s case attracted wide support from domestic violence organizations, Asian American community groups, and immigrant rights advocates, who rallied behind the hashtag #StandWithNanHui, as she has first fought child abduction charges, and then deportation proceedings. During this time, she remained incarcerated and was not allowed any contact with her now-five-year-old daughter, who was placed in the care of Jesse Charlton, the child’s father and Jo's former partner.
Supporters caution that this is not the end to Jo’s legal battles, as her U visa and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) visa applications are still pending, her family court proceedings continue, and her child abduction conviction is being appealed for legal errors in jury instruction.
Jo’s supporters will mark the one year anniversary of her arrest and separation from her daughter next week in San Francisco.