Ending Threat of Deportation: Urge Governor Newsom to Pardon Saman Pho!

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Tell Governor Newsom to pardon Cambodian genocide survivor, Saman Pho, so that Saman can remain with his wife and four young children in Oakland, California. The Governor’s pardon could prevent Saman’s order of deportation. 

Saman is a beloved father and Cambodian refugee facing deportation due to a conviction from over two decades ago. Before arriving to the U.S. at the age of six, Saman spent three years with his family in concentration camps under the Khmer Rouge. Saman and his family experienced many atrocities, including the loss of his brother who starved to death. Following their captivity, they stayed at several refugee camps before coming to the United States in 1982. 

Saman’s family settled in an impoverished neighborhood in Oakland during a time when many cities experienced tough-on-crime laws. Saman’s parents worked multiple jobs, and spent long hours away from home. Saman did his best to focus on school despite an unstable environment and leaned on friends in the neighborhood for support. In 1995, while at a party with the “wrong” crowd, a group of young men attacked Saman and his friend. While under the influence of alcohol, he fired a weapon towards his attackers. Saman was arrested and immediately accepted responsibility for his actions and charged with attempted murder. With full remorse, he accepted a 12 year prison sentence. Though no lives were lost, Saman was ashamed of his actions, and worked to change his life.

While in prison, Saman completed his GED, received a painting certificate, attended other educational trainings, and was a member of the Men’s Advisory Committee. After serving 11 years in prison Saman was immediately arrested by immigration officers on prison grounds and spent 4 months in ICE detention fighting deportation. Inexperienced, vulnerable, and without legal representation, Saman signed an immigration document attesting to his removal from the United States. He was released under conditional status.

Upon his release, Saman worked multiple jobs, eventually receiving honors through the Cypress Mandela apprenticeship program, which gives job opportunities to disadvantaged men. In 2014, he was offered a position with McGuire and Hester Construction where he continues to work as a respected employee. Shortly after, the Northern California Cement Masons Apprenticeship Program accepted Saman, and he became a member of the OPCMIA International Organization of Local 300. 

Today, Saman has built a life with his wife, Maribel, and four children, Zuheili (14), Tonalli (9), Emanuel (8), and Apsara (1). Saman is not fluent in Khmer, and has no ties to family in Cambodia. If Saman were removed from this country, Saman and his family would face immense emotional pain, financial instability, and other severe consequences from being forcibly separated.

Join Saman’s family and advocates to urge Governor Gavin Newsom to pardon Saman so that he can find relief from deportation and remain with his family and community.