Nonprofit Program Director Faces Deportation on Decades-Old Robbery Charge
Daniel Maher, a program director for the Ecology Center, a Berkeley, California-based nonprofit, is being held by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) and could be deported, reports the Daily Californian.
Maher was born in China and lived there for three years before moving to the U.S. He served seven years in prison for involvement in a robbery when he was 20 years old—more than two decades ago. At the conclusion of his sentence in May 2000, the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review ordered his deportation, but Chinese authorities failed to cooperate. Maher was released, but ICE was recently able to obtain the necessary documentation to deport him.
An online petition to keep Maher from being deported is gaining traction. Via the Daily Californian:
The San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus, which is representing Maher, created an online petition to protest his deportation. The petition had amassed nearly 1,900 signatures as of Sunday afternoon, nearing its goal of 3,200.
Addressed to Craig Meyer, the ICE assistant field office director for Northern California, the petition includes a letter asking him to exercise his prosecutorial discretion by dropping the charges against Maher. The letter asserts that Maher has “committed his life to bettering himself and the community around him and should not be punished for a conviction for which he has already served his time.”
Maher has worked for 10 years at the Ecology Center, where he oversees the Zero Waste and Recycling program, which includes weekly curbside recycling serving 30,000 residences in Berkeley. According to his bio on the Ecology Center's staff page, Maher has 15 years experience in resource recovery and manages customer service and general operations for the program. He also provides tours and recycling education for youths and the general public.
“He’s lived here—he’s been a contributing taxpaying citizen of the United States for most of his adult years,” Debbie Beyea, deputy director of the Ecology Center, told the Daily Californian. “And especially the past decade and a half, he has been an exemplary citizen, so we need people like that here.”
Maher is being held at a California facility until further notice.