Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Deportation to Venezuela looms for MTSU grad and his 20-year American family

(L-R) Vicent Lim and Manolo Lim

MTSU alum Manolo Lem is scheduled to be deported to Venezuela tomorrow, along with his parents Bing and Lin. Manolo was born in Venezuela and lived there for the first two years of his life; Bing and Lin were born in China. Manolo's little brother Vicent was born here in the U.S. The family has been in the U.S. since the Tianamen Square crackdown in 1989 over 20 years ago, and they built up the family restaurant into one of the two largest Chinese restaurants in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

National groups like America's Voice and United We Dream, as well as our own Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, are coordinating petitions and a letter-writing campaign to suspend the Lem family deportation order. America's Voice tells the Lems' story this way:
In just a few days Manolo Lem, a DREAMer, and his family will be deported unless we stop it from happening.

Manolo was born in Venezuela after his parents fled China. He came to U.S. when he was just two years old, graduated from high school with honors and earned a BA from Middle Tennessee State.

Now he and his parents are facing imminent deportation to a country that Manolo doesn’t even know.

Back in 2008, immigration officials told Manolo’s family that they had to sign some paperwork, sell their thriving restaurant business and leave the country. None of that was true – it was a classic example of a law-abiding family being railroaded and not advised of their rights.

Now, Manolo may be sent to Venezuela and his parents to China while his brother remains in the United States.

President Obama said just last week that his job was to run an immigration system that keeps families together – apparently the officials who work for him haven’t gotten the memo.

Let’s make sure they get the message loud and clear, and keep this family together.
America's Voice has set up a page that will let you send a fax to DHS and to ICE; United We Dream and TIRRC have set up pages where you can sign the petition and also Tweet and Facebook the link for further circulation.

I haven't seen any news coverage of the family's scheduled deportation.

A legislative fix for this tragedy would be for the U.S. to create an immigration bankruptcy system, but for now the best we can do is letters and faxes.

Lem family

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