OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – A rally was held Thursday to stop the deportation of a man who has been released from prison after spending more than 25 years behind bars. There is only one man who has the power to stop the person from being deported: Governor Gavin Newsom.  

Community leaders, city leaders, family and friends of Phoeun You held a rally outside the federal building in Oakland to stop his deportation to Cambodia – a country he has not seen since escaping with his family from the genocide taking place there when he was a child.  

“There is no justice in sending someone back to a place that they know nothing about,” said Oakland City Councilmember Sheng Thao. “He has done his time, and he needs to come home.”

You has spent the last 26 years of a 35-year sentence in San Quentin State Prison for killing someone with a firearm. The California parole board granted his release from prison back in January. 

“But instead of releasing him home to his community, they transferred him and handed him right over to ICE,” said You’s attorney So Young Lee. 

Unless Newsom issues a pardon, You will be deported, and will likely never see his family in America again. 

“Your viewers, the public, call the governor,” Chanthon Bun with the Asian Law Caucus told KRON4. “Let him know that you know Phoeun’s story, that you want him home. You want to see him reunited with his family.”

Bun met Phoeun You in prison and witnessed his transformation into a person the parole board found worthy of granting an early release

“I was in San Quentin with him, and he was the first person to help me with my journey to freedom,” he said. “It’s sad for me to be standing up here right now fighting for his freedom.”

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A spokesperson for Newsom sent KRON4 the following statement. 

“Information regarding pardon applications is confidential and we’re not able to discuss individual cases. The governor regards clemency as an important part of the criminal justice system and all applications receive a thorough and careful review.”