Steve Torlone was brought to the United States 46 years ago, when he was four years old. He has three American citizen children and has been married to his wife, also a citizen, for 20 years. Because of a harsh retroactive immigration law from 1996, Steve now faces a lifetime ban from re-entering the United States because of 20-year-old theft and robbery convictions.
By the time the Department of Homeland Security decided to place Steve in deportation proceedings in 2004, more than a decade had passed since he'd completed his sentence. Steve and his wife, Kim, had raised a daughter, and Steve had spent much of his time working overtime to provide for his family, including two children from a previous marriage. Steve also contributed to care for his aging diabetic father and his mother, who suffers from respiratory problems. If Steve is deported, he would never again see his parents, who are too ill to travel. Kim would be forced to decide whether to follow him to Canada or remain in California with their daughter.
The timing of Steve’s arrest highlights the absurdity of how harsh our nation’s immigration laws have become. The government allowed him to renew his green card in 2000 with no problems. When he traveled to Canada to celebrate his grandmother’s 80th birthday in 2001, he returned to the U.S. without even being questioned. It wasn’t until 2004, when Steve and Kim returned from a vacation in Mexico, that he was detained by the U.S. government and served a Notice to Appear in immigration court. In the past six years, the Torlone family has been forced to foreclose on their home to pay the legal fees to fight his case. Last February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against him and the family could not afford to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. On December 9, 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers came to the Torlones' door and took Steve into custody. He is now detained in Arizona and has been told he could be deported within a week.
Steve Torlone made a mistake 20 years ago, served his time, and has since spent his life as a loving and hard-working father who pays taxes and abides the law. Laws like IIRAIRA are tearing families apart and depriving our nation of hard-working individuals who should not be punished twice for a decades-old mistake.
Take action to help keep the Torlone family together:
1. Call Governor Jerry Brown at (916) 445-2841 and ask that he issue a pardon and halt the deportation of Steve Torlone (#A 14-147-674), a 50-year-old permanent resident from Sacramento.
2. Send a fax to the governor at (916) 558-3160.
3. Sign this petition asking the governor to step in and make sure Steve Torlone's family is not torn apart because of an overly harsh law and a decades-old conviction.