This is about love, family, immigration, a couple wrongly deported out of the country and a family split up. Our family is comprised of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Christians, Catholics, Agnostics and many other denominations. Some believe in closed borders, some believe in open borders. We do however, all agree that the situation with my Son Mark and his wife (my daughter-in-law) Sunny (Kaesun) is an injustice. If anyone knows anyone, who knows anyone, who can help - please pass this on. This story has affected hundreds of South Korean immigrants that thought they had come here legally. They lived here for decades, got jobs, got degrees, went to school, only to be deported from a country and life they love.

A Letter Written by a Dear Friend

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing you regarding an extremely urgent matter. This crisis is not showing up on the news, but should, as it is affecting hundreds of wonderful South Korean immigrants and their friends and family.

Over 20 years ago, three corrupt men, a U.S. immigration supervisor (Leland Sustaire) and two immigration brokers, committed crimes that threaten to deport (or in some cases, already have deported) 275 innocent South Korean immigrants. These greedy brokers were found guilty of bribing Leland Sustaire, who accepted the bribes, and authorized the fraudulent green cards.

Kaesun Song Douglas (lovingly known as Sunny, now wrongly known as alien #A47054690 in Eloy Detention Center), is a brilliant, loving, and honest young woman who began her life in America as a 10 year old immigrant. Her family believed that everything was done legally, and even Daniel Lee, the corrupt broker, has stated that his clients did not know of the bribery and fraud. Regardless, it is 100% unjust that a girl filled with dreams, who arrived in this wonderful country at the age of 10 should be uprooted from the life she has worked so hard to build, over 20 years later!

Not only was Sunny an innocent child through the immigration process, but she is in love with and married to her sweetheart of over five years, who is an American man! I see NO possible explanation for her deportation. The last conversation I had with her before she was snatched from her home, she was discussing her plans for graduate school and how she was excited about the idea of having children and starting a family in the next couple years.

The men who committed the crimes have done their time (please see attached article from the LA Times which contains more information).They have stated that their immigrant clients are innocent. These professionals, families, students, and outstanding AMERICANS have spent 20 years building their lives in this country.
They came to this country for a better life. They came to this country to be here for all the reasons we love being Americans. They came to this country because we as a people believe in justice. Ripping an amazing young woman like Sunny away from her husband, education, friends and entire life is utterly and undeniably wrong. Please don’t let me, and everyone whose lives have been touched by Sunny and the many others in her position, lose faith in the justice for which this country stands.
Please, I know you are busy, but anything you can do to help will never be forgotten. Sunny has been torn from her friends and family, is being detained in Arizona, and faces deportation as soon as tomorrow.



- Sunny was deported to South Korea from her detention center.  My son Mark joined his wife in South Korea and they both are trying to gain her acceptance back into the United States.

-Sunny is also juggling her full-time job and taking her last two classes online through San Jose State University in order to earn her degree.

*Update - She Received Her Diploma!!!!!

*Current US Law Says if Someone is Deported They Can't Return for 10 years.

*More Background Information

My daughter-in-law ( Sunny ) Kaesun Song Douglas ( A#47054690 )
came to this country when she was 10 with her Mom and her brother
with visas. She went to school and worked her way through San Jose
State University. In 1986 there was a scam that was started by 2
Korean Brokers (who some of 275 South Koreans had met at church).
These 2 brokers said they would get legal help for these people-for a
fee-and these South Koreans were naive. Instead of getting legal help,
the brokers bribed an INS Supervisor who ended up getting $500,000 for
giving out green cards to these 275 South Koreans. The INS Supervisor
finally, in 1998 turned himself in and testified against the brokers, and
because of that he received a $7,500 fine-6 months in a halfway house-
and 6 months home confinement at his ranch in Tracy. He had burned
all the records previously. 

The government told the South Koreans they
had to prove their innocence-which of course they couldn't do because
all the records were burned. 

So Sunny is a victim of this whole scandal.
Sunny and my son Mark Douglas were married on 4/01/09. She
immediately became a wonderful part of our family, we all love her
tremendously. She is a sweet, caring, positive, fun person to be with.
I have never heard her say anything negative (except when she was
in the detention center in Eloy,Arizona-she was terrified). 

Absolutely everyone I have ever spoken to, thinks this is one of the most unjust
situations they have ever heard of. Congressional Representatives
asked the DOJ to please take these deportations on a case by case
basis. Obviously they did not or Sunny would still be here.
She was in her last semester at San Jose State University
(had previously been on the dean's list-with a great GPA),
was on her way to her car to go to school and was picked up by
INS-on 8/31/10 and taken into custody. She was sent the next day to
the detention center in Eloy,Arizona and was deported on 9/21/10.
Sunny was here for 22 years and was a child when the scam happened.
She should not be responsible for what others did,especially 3 corrupt people.

Sunny loves this country and feels in her heart - this is her country.

Really outrageous' green card scam / Reps. Honda, Lofgren intervene

*An Article About The Situation

January 23, 2003|By Ryan Kim, Chronicle Staff Writer

Two South Bay members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday urged Attorney General John Ashcroft to intervene on behalf of 275 Korean immigrants who may face deportation.

Reps. Mike Honda and Zoe Lofgren, both San Jose Democrats, said in a letter to Ashcroft that the immigrants are the likely victims of fraud and should not be deported without a case-by-case review.

Most of the 275 immigrants are from the Bay Area. They claim they are the innocent victims of a scheme cooked up between several South Bay immigration brokers and an Immigration and Naturalization Service official, who granted the green cards.

The immigrants paid thousands of dollars to brokers they believed would expedite their cases. But the brokers used the money to bribe the INS supervisor. 

The INS now considers those green cards as illegal because they were obtained through bribes.
Of those with suspect permanent resident cards, one has been deported, a handful have already left voluntarily, at least 14 have been brought up on deportation hearings, while the rest anxiously await word on whether they too will be forced to leave, said Santa Clara attorney Alex Park, who is representing 95 of the immigrants. 

For the last eight years, Seong Soon Han possessed what she thought was a legal green card. But her documents have become tainted through no fault of her own, she said.
I'm really worried," said Han, a 42-year-old Vacaville violinist. "I really had no idea."
While the four brokers were convicted in 1999 of fraud and bribery, their clients -- engineers, scientists and business owners -- are being pursued for obtaining fake immigration documents.
It's devastating," Park said. "They can't plan for their future, they're in abject fear. For most of the people there is no there to go back to." 

On Wednesday, Honda and Lofgren asked Ashcroft to suspend deportation proceedings and give the immigrants a chance to prove their innocence. Honda said the immigrants never participated in the fraud and shouldn't be treated as criminals. 

The INS refused to comment.
It's an ongoing criminal investigation so we can't come out with any information," said INS spokeswoman Sharon Rummery. 

Some of the immigrants holding bogus immigration documents said they aren't sure of their next move. Many have put off plans, delayed vacations and even held off on sending their children to college and graduate school. 

It takes a huge emotional toll to lead your life with this weight over your head while you go to work, live your life, and think about the future," said Ben, 25, a Bay Area software marketing manager who arrived from South Korea 10 years ago with his parents. 

Han said she paid $45,000 for herself and her husband to obtain their green cards. While she has yet to be contacted by the INS, Han is worried that if the government doesn't come for her in the coming months, the agency will simply revoke her green card when she reapplies. 

I have two years left on my green card, so in two years from now, what will happen?" she asked.
Park said the scheme began in 1986, when San Jose engineer John Choe approached INS supervisor Leland Sustaire with the idea of accepting money in exchange for approving green cards.
After Sustaire agreed, Choe began an immigration consulting service, charging $5,000 to $30,000 for every client who wanted to get their permanent resident application approved. 

Choe told clients, many of whom he met through a now-defunct church in Cupertino, that the fees went to pay for lawyers who would speed up their cases, which often took up to two years to be heard. What he wasn't telling them was he was splitting the money with Sustaire. 

Sustaire eventually took in more than $500,000 in the scam, which continued until 1998. He finally turned himself in to the Department of Justice and agreed to provide evidence against Choe, his wife Cherie Choe and her sister Song Ja Byun, along with Daniel Lee, another San Jose immigration broker who began working with Sustaire in 1993. 

For his cooperation, Sustaire paid $7,500 in fines, and spent six months confined in a halfway house and six months in home confinement, at his ranch in Tracy. The four brokers, convicted in 1999, served sentences ranging from four months to three years. 

As part of the brokers' criminal trial, Sustaire provided a hand-written list of 275 people to whom he granted green cards. He put the list together from his memory because he had long ago burned all his files to destroy any incriminating evidence. 

Shortly after the end of the trial, the INS took the list and began looking for the immigrants, posting their names on watch-lists at local airports.
Park said his clients should not be punished because they never attempted to knowingly defraud the government.

"This is really outrageous," said Honda. "This is not according to the value system we have in this country; we should take care of them and take care of this situation."

Lives Founder on Green Card Fraud.

*Another Article Written About The Situation
Lives Founder on Green Card Fraud

The bribery culprits did their time. But a steeper price -- deportation -- confronts hundreds of Koreans who say they were victimized.

The Nation

January 06, 2003|John M. Glionna, Times Staff Writer
SAN JOSE — For 12 years, Leland Sustaire was the fix-it man, a veteran U.S. immigration supervisor who accepted $500,000 in bribes from two immigration brokers to authorize green cards for South Korean immigrants throughout California.
The scheme fell apart in 1998 when a nervous Sustaire turned himself in, agreeing to wear a hidden microphone to help indict Korean American brokers John Choe and Daniel Lee. Both were convicted of fraud and bribery in 1999 and sentenced to three years in prison. For Sustaire's cooperation, prosecutors argued that the 54-year-old former official should avoid time behind bars: He was sentenced to six months in a halfway house and six months' home confinement.
But the steepest price for the scam, immigration lawyers say, is being paid by the 275 green card recipients. Many are established professionals -- scientists, doctors, ministers, Silicon Valley software engineers and business owners -- who insist that they had no idea their green cards were tainted. One broker even acknowledges that his clients were innocent, and the government has yet to offer evidence to the contrary.
But after 15 years or more in the United States, the green card holders are discovering that the prosperous lives they have fashioned in their adopted homeland are in serious jeopardy.
Immigration and Naturalization Service investigators are tracking down many of them for deportation hearings, even though Sustaire testified that he burned all records from the applications. Included were original documents that cardholders could have used in their defense. A lawyer says the government is instead relying on an inaccurate list of names Sustaire compiled from memory.
The INS and Sustaire declined to discuss the case, and federal officials would not disclose how many immigrants have been contacted so far for possible deportation.
But Lee, who is out of prison, said none of his 50 clients knew of the bribes. "They thought they were paying for their cases to be expedited," he said. "As far as they knew, it was all legal. The bribes were between me and Leland Sustaire."
Most of the green card holders are in the Bay Area, but more than 100 live in Southern California.
They are people such as Seong Soon Han, a Vacaville woman who paid $30,000 for a green card. A Californian since 1986, she says she would miss the sheer physical beauty she has found here, from the rugged Big Sur coastline to the vast expanse of the Central Valley farmland.
"I love this country very much," said the 42-year-old former Seoul concert violinist. "I don't want to leave it. I can't go back to South Korea. My life is here now."
And there is the Northern California contractor who spoke on the condition that he not be identified. He became a key government witness in the criminal case against Lee. Despite his testimony, the INS office in San Francisco refused to offer any dispensation. Now he awaits notification of a possible deportation hearing.
In interviews, Han and the contractor said they believed an immigration broker could move their cases through the system more quickly. Lee also told them that much of their fees paid for his consultations with a reputable law firm that specialized in immigration issues.
Others met Choe and Lee and their families through local churches, which they say added to the brokers' credibility.
Fighting tears, the contractor said: "I am a good father and good husband. I would never do anything illegal."
The INS inquiries come at a time of heightened alert by federal officials in the months since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The agency also battles a flood of illegal entries each year, from Central Americans crossing the border to Asians arriving in container ships. Of the estimated 5 million people now in the country illegally, INS figures show, 40% entered on temporary visas.
Even today, many who received green cards from Sustaire have no idea that their immigration status is threatened, according to Alex Park, a San Jose attorney who represents 95 people in the case. He said 14 clients have so far been issued "notices to appear" at deportation hearings.
One green card holder has been deported already. Y.K. Kim, a 26-year-old Bay Area woman, was arrested at San Francisco International Airport in 2001 as she walked off Korean Air Flight 23, returning from Seoul. In court filings, prosecutors alleged that Kim tried to enter the country illegally, using a green card "issued to her based on a bribe paid to a corrupt service officer."
Under immigration law, the government says, Kim bears the burden of demonstrating her innocence.
Park, who represented Kim, says that his client's mother got the green card for her a decade ago and that prosecutors never proved she knew the document was obtained from a bribe.
"In this country, you are innocent until proven guilty," Park said. "But these people are summarily being declared guilty and the government is challenging them: 'Go ahead, prove to us that you're innocent.' "
Overcome by Guilt
In the late morning of Feb. 9, 1998, Leland Dwayne Sustaire walked into a Department of Justice field office in suburban San Bruno, introduced himself as an INS employee and asked to meet with investigators: He was tired of looking over his shoulder, he soon explained.
As Special Agent Ralph B. Curtis and a colleague from the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General took notes, Sustaire told of accepting $500,000 in exchange for authorizing hundreds of Alien Registration Receipt Cards, commonly known as green cards.
The bookish-looking Texas native soon became the government's star witness against immigration brokers Lee and Choe. The day after talking with investigators, Sustaire wore a microphone while meeting with Lee in Sustaire's truck at a Burger King parking lot.
At Lee's trial, Sustaire explained why he finally turned himself in: "Guilt, shame for what I had become. It's been a heavy burden on me for a long time, and I wanted to get rid of it."
A 20-year government employee who started as a Border Patrol agent in Texas, Sustaire said he began accepting bribes in 1986 when he gained custody of his two daughters and began feeling financial pressures. The former INS examiner said he agreed to obtain a green card for a client of immigration broker John Choe in exchange for cash.
Eventually, under what would become a standard arrangement, Sustaire received 50% of what Choe charged clients. He eventually netted more than $300,000 from Choe in cash payments sent to a post office box in Tracy, an hour east of San Francisco.
One day in 1993, Sustaire was approached in a parking lot outside his Alameda County office by Daniel Lee. The broker explained that he had heard of Sustaire's dealings with Choe and said he had a client willing to pay $40,000 for permanent resident status for himself and his three children. Sustaire agreed to meet him at a nearby restaurant to discuss a long-term arrangement that eventually netted the official $200,000, according to documents.
Soon, Sustaire was taking orders from both brokers. Like Choe, Lee sent his cash payments to Sustaire's business front, Disaster Survival Provisioners Inc. Whenever Sustaire called Lee at KOAM Immigration Service, his code name was Bill, according to records.
In court, Sustaire testified that as supervisor in an office that conducted citizen application interviews, the issuing of green cards was totally at his discretion. But his role in the scheme was not without risk.
He often processed applications by secretly using an official stamp belonging to subordinates. He then forged the examiner's name, often that of a woman with a "scribble-like signature" that was easy to copy.
Sustaire began to spend his profits lavishly. He bought a sports car and expensive horses, and paid cash for improvements at his two-acre Tracy ranch. When a federal investigator showed up in 1994 to ask about his sudden wealth, Sustaire said the money came from an invention he had patented.
But the visit spooked him. He soon took scores of green card application files and burned them.
By 1998, documents show, Sustaire was worried that one of the brokers had organized-crime connections and turned himself in to federal officials.
Newspaper Ad
Seong Soon Han clipped the newspaper ad about a green card service and showed her husband. It was 1993, and the couple, in the country on temporary visas, decided Northern California was the place to make their permanent home.
They soon met Lee, who showed them a fistful of green cards he had arranged. But his price was high: $30,000 for each document.
Han's husband called his parents in Seoul for the money.
Han recalled the day she got her card: "We were so happy. We had waited so long."
Then came the crash: a Korea Times article about a green card scam involving an INS agent and two brokers, including Lee and KOAM Immigration Service.
Han couldn't believe it. She called a San Jose lawyer quoted in the article, which described a government list of 275 names of people who received green cards through the scheme.
Was the couple's name on the list? she asked, breathless.
It was.
"We were crazy with fear," Han said.
For two years, they have waited. Han assumes that each telephone call will bring news of deportation. If she and her husband don't hear from the government by the time their green cards expire next year, they may be forced to move to Canada, where a lawyer there has told them he could secure legal documents for them. The prospect of being driven from California angers Han's husband.
"We had our little dreams of being American citizens, just like everybody else," he said. "We're good people. But now the government treats us like criminals. But the government is wrong. All our documents are legal. Our only mistake is that we trusted people."
Attorney Park, who represents the couple, says many who received green cards through Sustaire's scam would have been eligible without his assistance. "These people are conservative," he said. "They'd do anything they could to avoid such a risk. Why take part in a crime if you had the chance to achieve the same end legally?"
Instead, he says, the immigrants have been thrust into a Catch-22: The government is demanding that they prove their innocence. But the very documents they could use as part of their defense have been destroyed by their accuser. Said Park: "They're being cheated out of their due process rights."
San Francisco civil rights lawyer Robert Rubin agreed that the government should move cautiously. "If these individuals are in fact innocent of a fraud perpetrated in part by a government official, the INS ought to think twice before it denies them the benefits of a green card," he said. "They don't know the level of culpability."
The Northern California contractor knows he has paid a terrible price for doing business with Lee.
To make the $45,000 he paid for their green cards, the contractor, his wife and son moonlighted as janitors. The family wrote monthly checks to pay Lee. Why would they do that if they knew the payments were illegal? he asks.
Now they say they cannot leave the United States for fear that they will be arrested on their return.
Not long ago, the contractor took his family to Niagara Falls. They sat in the car and contemplated driving over to the Canadian side for a better look.
"We just stared at the border crossing, knowing we couldn't go," the son said. "I remember my father saying, 'Maybe we'll be able to go someday.' Then we turned the car around and came back."