Recorded by Robynn Takayama
:20 two mower sounds
:36 one mower sound overrides the other
1:35 softer mower
3:11 two mowers/transition to Andrew’s mower
3:33 his mower dies down/starts up
what role do you play in the business?
:05 this is my dad’s independent contractor. He’s self employed. He be doing this for 20 plus years. Like general manager. His job is he basically do everything: painting, light plumbing work, gardening work, whatever needs to be done to survive in America. Me, by role playing his son, I do whatever I can to help him out. Making the job easier for him. When you’re by yourself, it’s a lot of work. Gotta mow the lawn, load the area, edge the lawn, it’s just so much work. But me, I’ve been doing it since I was 12 years old, since I was a little kid, so :42 I have a lot of experience to do all of this, so I just making the job go faster. :46 When you’re by yourself, it take an hour/hour and fifteen minues. :50 with two people doing it? 30-40 minutes. $30, you know what I mean? Somem place $50, some place $20. It all depends on how big the house is.
YOU SAID BEFORE YOU ONLY DID IT 3 DAYS A WEEK BUT NOW YOU’RE DOING IT FULL TIME
1:05 because right now, it’s spring time. A lot of work. It get busy. Doing this kind of work, you get really busy around [cut machine] because everybody need their house clean. A lot of stuff get grown out of the way 1:22 There’s more work to be done in spring, but when winter time come, jobs slow down. That’s why spring time, summer time, you try to get a lot of work done. When winter gets slow, you just do general care, basic salary coming in. By spring time/summer time, you get more jobs available, more big projects, more money involved.
1:46 HOW WOULD YOU DAD’S BUSINESS BE AFFECTED IF YOU WERE DEPORTED
1:54 oh, man. By me being the only son, it has to do a lot. I have four sisters: 2 older 2 younger. I don’t expect them to help out. 2:05 If I get deported, just being in Cambodia, feeling that my dad’s working his butt off and I’m just sitting there have no family, it hurts! What can you do? What can you do to reach out to help? 2:22 All you can ask is for got to help you out. That’s all you can do.
2:27 TELL ME AGAIN HOW YOU HELPING OUT HELPS THE BUSINESS
2:36 it makes the job easier when you have a helper, when you have experience it make the job faster. Sometimes when you’re by yourself working, it may take 1 hour, 2 hour 2:47 just to do 1 house, getting $60 of value money for that one place. With two people, it take 20-30 minutes and the pace go faster if you know, especially if you both know what you’re doing. You know how 1 person has a flow, 3:03 he’ll take one flow, I take one flow and we’ll just concurrent catch up until the job is done. And that’s the how I see it. To get it done faster. If you hire people who don’t know what they’re doing, they’ll just 3:18 parlay, killing some time. I’ve been doing this since I was a little kid, so it’s fast for us. We usually take 5 houses out in 45 minutes. I know because when I’m by myself, 4 houses take me 4-5 hours!
3:35 Because whenever they take out, go on vacation, go out of town, whatever, 3:40 the burden’s on me. I have to take care of the business. If I don’t go to work, we don’t get paid. In this kind of job/lifestyle, it’s based on your endurance, your strength. It’s not like you get insurance//liability/no work payment, compensation. It’s not 8-4 job. Sometimes our job is 24 hours, 12 hour, 4 hour, 3 hour. It all depends on our shift; how we feel. So that’s why 4:09 with you coming to this interview today, my job’s very flexible. We just have to be punctual, get things done on time.
4:23 SAY AGAIN HOW THE BUSINESS WOULD BE AFFECTED IF YOU WEREN’T HERE.
4:29 If I’m not here, not getting deported back to my country, it’s a bonus, it’s a plus. I can help out my family so much. 4:39 Just helping out my family prosper, building a foundation for myself, create a family out here for myself. I’m just here to help out because my parents ARE getting old. 4:51 I don’t expect him to live all his life, so by me picking up his business or maybe move on to better things, whatever I’m destined to do as long as for goodness. 5:07 That’s all that counts.
HOW WOULD YOUR FAMILY BE AFFECTED IF HE GOT DEPORTED?
:05 we are very sad, you know. I don’t want to do that. He want to stay here. I don’t…:24 I just know, but I can not stop him. He go out too much! I want him to go to school…after that, he make trouble, you know.
HOW DOES HE HELP THE BUSINESS?
1:03 he can do the heavy stuff, loading and mow the lawn, blower, cut the tree, prune. He know a lot. He can go buy the stuff for the materials. He can do a lot. I just tell him. He can run to the store and get the good stuff and buy and put it in.
[interaction with customer]
don’t worry about the front, just do the back.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ANDREW IN TERMS OF HIS WORK
:05 I mean he’s just like his dad. He’s very conscientious about everything that he does and very quick about it and does what he says he’s going to do for what he says he’s going to do it for :18 which is important, always. So they’re a great team. I can always count on them. If I ask them to do something, I know that when I get back to the house it’s done. :30 And that’s what you look forward to in this day and age. That someone does what they say they’re going to do for what they say they’re going to do it for.
WHAT’S YOUR NAME AND HOW YOU KNOW ANDREW
:43 My name is Bill Sheef and I know, of course I know him through his dad because his father does the entire neighborhood yardwise around here. And I knew :56 Chip before I knew Andrew, but of course, Andrew became a part of the picture and that’s how I got to know Andrew.
raking with neighbor discussion in background :34 more raking :53 raking gets softer, more neighbor talking 1:26 raking again. 1:34 car drives by “Andrew, you can leave and go, I’ll finish it up. Don’t worry about it.” 1:51 Andrew! 2:00 car drives by
:10 My name’s Andrew This. My full name is Aht Andrew Thi. I am 30 years old. I came to America in September ’81.
:20 You were 6 years old, so what do you remember from Cambodia?
:29 I mean I don’t have a lot of pinpoint memories of what’s going on. All I know that my family was doing whatever it takes to get out from Cambodia, because during the war, just to get to the refuge camp in Thailand and hopefully get picked to come to America to have a better life for my family.
:50 why, what was it like in Cambodia?
:53 There was too much…you could say it was like…there was the north and south going on it’s a rebel, it’s like communist. Everybody’s killing each other just for no reason! It was a war going on, so that’s why people just fled from Cambodia to get to the refugee camp. The refugee camp is between Cambodia and Thailand. When you’re there, you just stay there. Some from 0 days to 2-3 years, just waiting to get a pardon to pick to come to America, or somebody sponsor you. 1:28 So really it’s based on luck of a draw if they ask you questions: what’s your purpose to come to America. All you can do is be honest with them. Tell them I want a better life for my family. That’s what my dad tell them. To have a education for us (my four sisters and me). To have a better opportunity for him.
1:50 do you remember what the refugee camp was like
1:59 we flew. Thank god we was one of the ones, the fortunate ones. Some people have to go to 2-3 drop zones just to get to America, like Lao Filipines, whatever it takes, just too many different drops. Thank god that we came straight to San Francisco.One flight here, so that was the good thing. We didn’t go by boat. We took a plane here.
What was the neighborhood like you were growing up in?
2:28 Wow, it’s like it just to me, I don’t have a really good memory on how the neighborhood was, but I can tell you before. In the early ‘80s, it wasn’t as crazy as right now. (laugh) like you know what I mean? A lot of murders, all in the Bay Area. It’s more kind of peaceful. But I don’t know. In the 2000, late ‘90s, violence start picking up. Maybe it’s the environment, it’s your surroundings, the poverty, the place, that’s why the crime, everything just start all kinds of bad things start happening around the area. Unfortunately, maybe I just happened to fall in that category. (laugh) and get caught up with the system, but …
3:24 I can’t blame it on nobody. It was my decision to be made. But now I learning from it. Take the bad, make the best of it.
Would you say your family was poor growing up?
3:38 Oh, yeah. We was very poor. I mean, the way we survive, they gave us welfare money. Medicare just to survive. Because speaking in term, come on. We just came from America from Cambodia. Mental illness. Stuff you went through! You are in a different zone now. This is not your atmosphere. The only thing your mom and dad can do is survive on welfare, medicare. The only thing to look forward to is hopefully their kids will prosper from education and build a foundation for them to make their parents name look good. We brought them here for a good reason.
4:20 Which in fact, it did. Some of my sisters are very successful in life. They’ve got two businesses. My oldest sister works in a bank. My other sister, she’s a cosmootologist. She’s a beauty…My other sister she do medical work, help out my sister in San Diego.
4:36 me, I’m just finding the light right now. I’m just trying to do my turning point. Trying to do good. That’s all my life just doing bad (laugh).
So let’s talk about that (laugh). How did you start to get in trouble.
4:55 Basically, I could …it’s just the excitement, the adrenaline. It’s not really because speaking in terms, I was still going to school getting As and Bs in school (laugh) but I was just living a double agent life. Trying to do bad, hang out, just all the thuggish stuff in terms, stealing cars, doing the bad deeds.
How did you get drawn to the dark side. Did you do it to fit in?
5:40 To be honest with you, I thnk you just do it to fit in, when everybody else was doing it, how would it look if I’m hanging around my friends, and I’m like, “I don’t want to be doing this.” I’m not supposed to be there hanging out with all of them, late at night. Why you even here? 6:00 So what can you do? You’re put in a position. They’re not going to force you to do it. Every body’s doing it, taking care of business. You might as well go with the flow and do it. I mean, they didn’t put a gun to my head and say you’ve got to do this. It was my choice to do it. To make some little money. 6:25 To get better things, better clothes. I mean, what do we have? We don’t have nothing. All the only thing we had was education. But that was the best thing in life, but I didn’t realize it. I could have kept it on it. I got a not a full scholarship, but every school I go to they pay for me. 6:49 Cal State Hayward: I was going free because of my financial aid because of my high excelling in high school and my scoring on the SAT, whatever. 6:58 Plus by being minority, by my family being a low poverty level, I qualify for all the financial needs. It’s like taking a free ride, it’s like an athlete for a scholarship.
But I took it for granted. Still hanging out at night. 7:15 Doing what I got to do. And as things lead on, things started slipping. My grades started to go down and I’m just going out more! So it all went a tone when I got busted and cost me 5 years in prison. It just all went down the drain. Even though you can do good in school, 7:35 doing bad when the bad catch up, the good don’t really mean nothing.
7:44 Were you getting in trouble with other Cambodians?
7:45 They everything: they mixed: Cambodian, Laos, Vietnamese, Chinese. I mean I don’t pick race as a set to kick it, but a majority you can say is Asian. How you can say, “Asian gang?”
Was it a gang?
8:07 To me, in terminology, if the outside world were to look at it, they’d say it was a gang. I look at it, we’re not a gang. We’re just there to take care of business. Take care of situation is all it is.
8:21 What does it mean to “take care of business?”
8:24 Do what you gotta do to handle a situation right. I mean, if we attempt to do a robbery or a case, every body has to do their part right. That’s what I mean by “taking care of business.” When you call yourselves a gang member, the way I see it, you’re out to destroy people, whatever. You see people you don’t like, you’re just going to get ‘em. These people are more like a crime organization. They’re just taking care of business. 8:55 When it comes to a gang, I think they’re more powerful than a gang because they come out with everything on you.
9:04 So what kind of trouble were you getting into?
9:11 I can tell you since the 8th grade, I reacal, I started stealing clothes from the store. To be honest with you, I remember the first thing I ever stole. A token from the Malibu. You know how you pop the token machine? 9:31 The key. You reach you hand and stole the token. You take the token and go sell and make money back. At Malibu Grand Prix. Like a car race place? I rememember I got addicted to it! 9:48 That’s what I can recall when I was a little kid. Just cutting school and going there just to steal tokens. So funny just to think about it.
And later on it lead on 10:00 I mean it’s … on. I mean when people do bad things, it’s a turn out, this is my walk. It leads to big things unless you stop. As things from tokens to shoplifting to burglary to home invasion to auto theft to armed robbery. It all starts from a cycle. It’s all bad. 10:26Leading to worser situation until I was shut down. I mean speaking in terms. 10:33 I do a lot of thigns in my life, but be honest with you, you don’t get caught for everything, but you do get caught for some things. 10:42 That’s why I’m just speaking about all these little things that people might do. I mean, I might do, I might not do it, I’m not going to say, but speaking in general, that’s what it is when you tend to run that kind of lifestyle.
And the unfortunate thing about the Asian is that when you commit a crime and you’re an Asian, you finish doing your time 11:04 there’s another process you have to handle. It’s called INS. They WILL take your papers 11:09 and ship you back to your country. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been here.
11:17 When did you learn about the law.
11:20 to be honest with you, I never realized about that until I got locked up. I never knew that you get in trouble will cost your paperwork. If I knew that statistically, I would have gotten my citizenship first before I do anything! (laugh) to cover my back, which. You know what? It’s written in black and white on your card. You do something wrong, they will take your papers and send you back to your country. That’s what I heard.
11:50 It’s written on the back when you sign your paperwork to get your greencard. I read it later on. On the paperwork. Yep, if you do a crime, they will send you back to your country. 12:00 but you know what? We were too small. When we got older, we forgot about it. Until I wrecked myself in a train wreck to catch all this stuff that’s bring on to me. That’s what I done and it was wrong and now it’s catching back on to me. 12:17 Only a miracle of god will turn this all around and it’s working step by step.
Why didn’t you try to get your citizenship earlier.
12:30 I mean it was not a top of my priority. You know, I’m here, what can they do? We can always do it later on in life. It doesn’t have to be done before you’re 18. It’s not really, to be honest with you, my parents were never educated about that in terms. To get your citizenship. Before, the law wasn’t that tight, that strict. Whatever you want to say. It’s strict!13:07 go in out, no reason. Later on the law got more strict. And everything you do, it has a lot of effect on you. And that’s why I feel my heart ache for all those people who are out there right now. But when they was over here, they didn’t get a chance to do something to make it better.
I’m not saying that my attempt to do anything 13:33 to get my stay here forever. I hope to god I stay here forever. I mean, I will try to do the best in my power while I’m here to do anything I can to remove that deportation. Because I’m not saying it is a guarantee, but I will do something in my power to show to America, to the world, to society, to my community 13:55 I am a changed person. Everything I do every day is good. It’s not bad anymore because I don’t feel bad anymore. 14:02 Plus I don’t have to prove to anyone anymore because the man up on top, he’s watching me every day. So I know the power because everyday I’m here is a blessing. Now I understand my life.
When you got busted. What were you busted for.
14:27 I got busted for so many different things. I mean from juvenile hall to k-mall. But the really actual time I did was the first time I got caught when I was 18 doing any kind of incarceration time was my sophomore year in high school. I got caught stealing cars, joy riding, doing what I gotta do to have fun, to get around. You’ve got to think about living in a poverty area, you’re not 16 yet. You can’t get a license yet. You can’t get around. It’s just a lifestyle of a teen. You want to get around you want to take your girls out. You know what I mean? 15:09 the adrenaline pumps you it. You need to get around sometimes. You don’t have the patience to wait for your parents, wait for the bus. You know what I mean? 15:18 You need a ride, eh, get it right there. I’m just saying. I’m not saying everybody’s doing it. Speaking in general. If they know the technology to do that, people will do that. Kids. To be honest with you, it’s happening right now this day. It just really it is.
And when I got caught, they sent me to 6 months in camp. And when they sent me to 6 months in camp, then I go on a home pass. Then I do more burglary, car burglary and get caught again. Then they sent me almost 2 years total to juvenile hall.
15:58 then I promise my mom and dad that I’d never break the law anymore when I turned 18. But you know, I’ll be honest with you, 16:05 whatever I tell my parents, I mean, it ws all an act because inside I was still dirty. My heart was still dirty. 16:18 god wasn’t with me, so I could tell you I’m not doing this no more, but to be honest with you, I was lying to myself because I was still doing it. So that’s why I stayed good for a while, but the heat got good again and your friends get a hold of you again and making good money then you want to get involved again. That’s where I lead now, I’m an adult! 16:43 Then when I got popped for a robbery for some computer company, it cost me 5 years of prison. A robbery 16:55 somewhere in in LA cost me 5 years in prison.
See that just leaeds on to bigger things. I’m just going to be honest with you. 17:05 When I’m doing my 5 years, my thoughts, my head is like I’ve got nothing anymore. I come in here 25 years old. I’ve got all kinds of criminal record, what can I do to survive. If I was by myself. That’s why you see when people go to prison, it’s like a chain reaction.
Once you go in one time, you can’t break the chain reaction because sometimes when people come out, they have no family support and people tend to go back to a lifestyle. 17:45 That’s why I thank god that I have a strong family even though I’ve been so bad, they’re just there for me. 17:54 trying to bring me back to my old side, the good Andrew walking the narrow path, stop doingn bad things.
18:01 When I came out from those 5 years, to be honest with you, I was still doing bad. Later down the line, I found Jesus and shut down all the bad deeds.
When was that? Was that in prison?
18:18 Out here. It all happened out here. When I was out, being on deportation already, I still do bad things…to be honest with you, when you go to prison, 18:33 you get more experience, more knowledge to do things more cautiously. 18:39 to watch your back at all times, not to get too much, not to get too greedy. Just to get enough to get by. When people tend to get too much, too high, that’s when it all open up. This is just facts. I did what I got to do to get whatever, but 18:59 I mean my trials coming up. I was still painting the case.
When I got out of prison, I still had to deal with federal court. I was still fighting a conviction back in ’95 so it wsan’t a done situation when I got out. And that was the time when Jesus got into my life. He knew that 19:24 he needed to get into my head and he started sending all the right angels in my life to show who he is in my life.
What were some of those angels?
19:35 My girlfriend, first it was my girlfriend. That was my angel right there. That’s who I encountered god through her. That was my experience. And to really…that’s why it’s a blessing to me to feel…I feel so blessed everyday just to be out here so FREE because to be honest with you, I’m supposed to be sitting behind cellblock 8 doing 10-15 years right now. Refering to cellblock 8 20:06 is a federal prison. Because I was still facing criminal charge that I did in the past that got indicted later on. That’s why when I got out, I was not free yet. I came out, but I was still on bond. I was going through so much. Then 20:24 it all hit me in 2002-2003 around there. That’s when all my trials and tribulations came down on me. And I was like a confused soul. God would come one minute, the devil would come one minute! 20:40 I’m like, but it’s like a battle between my soul, my heart. I’m like WOW, I was going crazy. One minute I go good. One minute I go bad! 20:50 But until I really start seeing everything with my own eyes. This is like, it’s nobody else.
What really convinced me was 21:03 I mean I’ve seen so much miracle in my life. It’s like if I were to tell you, you’d open drop your jaws and stuff.
21:16 I would see a car start with out no battery. Just in my own eyes, I’d see the devil run out of somebody’s body, just the spirit! In my own sight. That’s god, this is Jesus. That’s powerful. I was seeing situation that he would put me in. He wouldn’t allow me to go there because bad things were happening. 21:38 Just look at the path of my life, it’s like, he’s just looking over my life. Being on me every step just to be safe. 21:46 Then when it really hit me, that’s when he answered my prayer in court for my criminal charge and I didn’t get no time for that. Statistically on black and white, that kind of criminal I have, that background, the minimum at least 4-5 years you have to do. That’s off the bat. 22:08 because of my prior. Because of what I plea to, too. I mean, that’s why like before I met Christ, met Jesus, I was telling everybody I was doing good, but really it was so rotten inside. I was still doing bad. I was lying to myself. 22:28
So then what happened? You got off?
22:35 I got off! They just gave me 5 year probation, 40 hours of community service (that’s how I ended up at CCDI) with no time and that was a miracle right there. A MIRACLE! Everyone I tell, every people I tell, they’re like WOAH! I’m like, yeah. That was a blessing, bro. God has answered your prayers. Even my p.o.s couldn’t believe that I’m still on the street. I say do you believe in heaven? I say that’s it right there because that’s what happened 23:06
It’s clear that your help as the only boy in the family, so why did you get in trouble as you were growing up?
22:25 I was still helping my dad and still committing crime. As a kid, I go to church, whatever, but my spirit wasn’t in the right place of mind. You know what I mean? You can go to church, but it might be so blank, do one thing but want to do the other thing? That’s how I was when I was a kid. I’d go to church and fall asleep. 23:50 Now, my church is in my heart everyday. That’s how I see it now. 23:55 Because I’ve seen him and it’s so powerful.
You’ve done all the time for the crimes. So can you talk about that. Your jail time and then the INS time.
24:24 Like I said before, with our situation of not being a citizen, it’s totally different from people of being a citizen. We can finish our time. It don’t matter. Arrange from 30 days to 10 years, 15 years give and take. Whatever category you fall in each individual person.
Once you 24:51 finish our time, we still come out into society and still have to report to an administration INS. It’s like you say it’s a lifetime probabation because they just want to know where you’re at at all times. And plus 25:10 they want to have control your life. They can take your life any time they want by the pick of the draw your name. To me, sometime I just feel so helpless, like wow, when is my name called up. You know what I mean? 25:27 I mean I laid it upon god. That’s on him right now. I don’t even want to think about it no more. So stuff you can’t deal with it, you can put it upon him and he’ll take care of it. 25:40
When did you find out about deportation?
Ok. 25:50 it was in January/April ’96, the law changed. I remember that. That’s my incarceration. Then finally, it got to paperwork by July ’96. That’s when I have to sign that I have to report to INS hearing to be deportation. That was ’96. That’s when they got to my paperwork. But the law changed in ’96 anybody that commit crimes will be ordered deported. That’s when I first heard about it 26:29 Before it wasn’t . Everybody would do their time, come back home, just like every individual that commits a crime, do bad, whatever. 26:41 That’s when I heard about it. Wow, like as I’m doing my program or time as you can say it, you think wow, I’m doing time. Soon as I finish my time, I’m going to be sent back to country. I’m like, man, that stress you out. It makes your time so uncomfortable, so ill at ease. You want to go home and you end up in another situation to be dealt with, which you already served your time that you did for your crime. 27:16 It just…you could just grow from black hair to grey hair.
You refer to Cambodia as your country.
27:39 What I refer to as my country, it was just my birth as my country. Not as my life. My life is America. In the Bay Area in California. 27:52 When I say refer as my home, it’s just the place that gave me birth, but my life is as an American. That’s what it is. To be honest with you, who do I know? All my family’s here. All my uncles here. All my sisters here. You might as well throw me into a ??? That’s what it is in terms, it’s what I’m looking at.
And from what I hear, people that already got shipped back, it’s like 28:26 it’s bad news. Bad news like you get picked on by the people out there because they’re probably jealous of you because you’ve got everything and all of a sudden you came back. Got bullied, beat up for the money sometime. Extortion, whatever. 28:47 I mean by the cops out there. From what I heard, this is facts. I heard this from more than 1 people, right. As soon as you get shipped back, you get out there, as soon as you get there, you sent to jail. The cops hold you in jail and they want ransom money to get you out! 29:15 So they call the family and you’ve got to send $500,000 to get your kids out. That’s just how it is. Any way to make money off of you! Even though the government is paying them money over there, now they want to make money off of your family right here. I mean, what can you do?
People make out there $5/day. 29:35 We spend on McDonald’s that whole meal. It’s a lot of money. And making $100/month is a blessing out there. Out here is nothing. That’s why if you got a family out here, you got that strong support, that bond, you might get that money to get you out. 30:00 If not, I don’t know. It’s going to be tough.
I know kids act as bridge for families. What impact on your family if you’re deported
30:22 I mean the good thing about me is I got 4 sisters so by send me back to my country, you just break up the foundation of the male part of my family, which I am the only male, the only son. It will have a lot still here to help out the family. Because sisters can only do so much. They don’t have the strength that a man’s got. That’s why, me, I do everything to help back. I don’t take things for granted more. I just 31:08 realized everything and see with my own eyes. Not to let the good things pass by me.
31:20 do you have regrets?
To be honest with you, every day, like why did I make those choice.31:25 I think it’s my past way of life. It wasn’t time for me yet. I don’t blame no body. It’s my choice. I mean every body it’s a blessing to be out here, but it’s my choice not to do good.31:44
And do you run into those guys?
31:49 To be honest with you, I see them off and on. One time I see an old friend driving around work and I seen him. I seen an old friend I ran to in juvenile hall. He’s like, “Hey, what you doing bro.” “I just got off of Santa Rita.” I said wow. Santa Rita is a county jail in Alameda County. I said, “Everything ok with you bro?” 32:14 All right bro, just stay strong out and do good out here. We got a lot to lose. We already been through everything and there’s no reason to be out here doing bad no more. Because we’re not kids no more; we’re a grown MAN, we’re 30+, all of us now. We’re not 16, 17, more like when we’re not strong mental thing. Everything we do these days is all held accountable on us, you know what I’m saying? 32:39 So I just gave him some money because I feel for him since he just got out. [laugh] What can you do, you’re in there. You know how it is. When a person gets out, you can help, but you can only help so much, too. I’m like man, just do good out there 32:57 because you never know. Your life style, your criminal history, it can add on.
33:08 No release date when you’re detained by INS
33:21 Doing time in federal prison, federal jail, when you go in, you got a date. You’ve got something to look forward to. That’s just like wow, I’m getting out 30 days, a year, whatever you got to do, but you have a day to get out. Go with INS, it’s like wow, is it you going to be out in 1 minute or are you going to be out to death, like life? It’s based on administration paperwork. 33:54 Maybe when they overlook your paperwork, they’re not ready to let you go. What can you do? You still held detained. You still inside. 33:59 So it’s like you a sitting duck. You odn’t know what to expect. All you can hope. That’s how I felt. 34:00 Wow, when am I going to get out 34:17 See, to be honest with you, when I was put in a hotspot to sign for deportation because if you don’t sign your deportation, there is no way you’re going to get an INS. Even though you fight your case, what do you have to prove to an INS judge that we have the right to stay here. All they’ve got to point out is look, 34:39 this is you son. Did you commit this crime son? What can you say? It’s what you did. This is the law. You’re going to end up spending all tons of money trying to fight it and still end up with the same result as signing the paperwork. By signing the paperwork, it speeds the process. You have this call nine day review. Once you sign deportation, in ninety days, if they can’t deport you, they review your file. That’s when you get to come out! Then you still report to them monthly, quarterly, become half a year, but give or take. Majority it’s no more than three months. It goes sometimes months, weeks. It all depends on how good you are. How good you’ve been. 35:30 It’s like even though you continue doing good, they still want to control your life. You never know when it’s time to go.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN? WHY HAVEN’T YOU BEEN DEPORTED YET? WHY ARE YOU STUCK IN THIS LIMBO?
35:52 To be honest with you, I can’t answer that question. I don’t know. I really don’t know. All I know that I’m ordered deported since January 31, 2000. That was my deportment date. That was the day I signed the papers to be deported. Now it’s what, June of 2005?!
ISN’T PART OF IT BECAUSE CAMBODIA IS A COMMUNIST COUNTRY?
36:23 The first two years, from January 2000-2002, they wasn’t deporting people yet because there wasn’t a law to deport. Then later on, I don’t know what happened in the white house, but there was some kind of paperwork where everything got cleared and they started deporting people. Which they continually doing later on, but lately they haven’t been doing for the last 3-5 months, I heard. I don’t know. From what I heard it’s like they’re trying to stop the deportation (the government). It’s the law, the government in the US because people going there with bad human rights and people getting hurt out there. It’s looking bad on America if they’re sending people out there and they’re getting hurt out there. It’s like putting them in a dog cage for no reason. 37:26 I’m not saying that it’s a fact, but I’m just hearing…but as of right now, I am still deported. Whenever they call me, I got to go, what can I do? I can’t hide forever.
37:46 AND HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR DECISION MAKING?
37:52 Before I’m like, I don’t plan for the future, right, but now I look at the bright side. Whatever happens, happens. But while I’m still here, I’m going to make the best of my life and go forward with it. Can’t linger in your head like that. You won’t accomplish nothing. You be on the even line. I’m trying to step up a little bit higher than just stay even just to get by. That’s what I want to do with my life. I know what you say, I’m on role call, but 38:33 what can you do? That was my bad deeds. I’ve got to face the music when it’s time to go. But that’s the weak point is that you don’t know when it is. It might be the next day. To be honest with you, it might be when I get home! 38:51 I get a phone call from IN, you know what, your name’s up. You’ve got 30 days to clear, turn yourself in. and what can you do? You want to run? Then you got to be on the run forever. You can’t work because then your name will run up. 39:13 That’s when you put them in a situation and bad things start to happen again. You see that? But you can’t do nothing! How are you going to survive? How are you going to support yourself?
39:28 TALK ABOUT HOW YOU WERE USING YOUR LIFE AS AN EXAMPLE FOR THE KIDS AT CCDI
39:45 I was doing community service when I first got out. It was part of my ???? I had to give 400 hours to specifically Cambodian community. So luckily my little cousin showed me this place and I picked CCDI. I ran into Patero Chim. He’s a consultant with INS. He’s dealing with a lot of citizen paperwork, whatever. He kinda gave me a lot of info about what’s going on with INS, the info, the background. That’s when I learned more about the administration side of INS what’s going behind doors. How they’re doing the 40:32 process. Giving me all the feedback. I mean, he knows my situation. Continue what you’re doing, doing good, but just save some money just in case. You never know. You can’t just blow off your money. You can’t go over there with no money! You gotta go there with some money at least. They make $100/month. $3/day. $4/day. You go over with a couple thousand dollars, you alright for a little bit. It hold you off for a couple years. That’s why I try to save some money now. Just work hard, save money, be with my family. 41:08 Do what I can do to help and just. But see that’s the bad thing about it. Even though you doing good, you still think about when are they going to call you. That’s really, it’s always behind my head. On top of my head. I haven’t even thought about it even more.
WHAT DOES GOING GOOD MEAN?
41:36 Doing good is like to me, in my opinion is just thanking the lord every day for being out here, helping with work, helping the family, doing good for myself, not to hurt anybody, respect anybody, treating everyone as a loved one like brotherly/sisterly. That’s all that really counts. Then everything will come around when you do all that. I’m not saying good like you got money, you got nice clothes or whatever. The fundamental, the foundation doing good. And everything will come in flow.
42:19 PEOPLE VOTED TO HAVE THIS LAW, SO WHY SHOULD YOU BE ALLOWED TO STAY IF YOU’RE COMMITTING CRIMES
42:50 That’s a tough one right there. It is the law. It was voted by the people. It was a freedom of choice vote. I wasn’t born here. I was granted to live here to earn a new life. A freedom to life. A freedom of choice life. And I made the wrong choice. That’s on me. I mean, you know what? I’m not going to blame the people for voting to deport me back. To be honest with you, put in that situation at that time, I might probably vote the same thing. If people just out there doing good, having nice things, cars, just worrying about their self-value then maybe people might come and rob it, deport ‘em back! 43:13 I’d probably think the same thing. But you know what, to be honest with you, you can’t. I hope people don’t think like that. Everybody’s different, you know what I mean? 43:52 Every individual’s different. I feel I’m different. I’m the same human as everybody, but everybody’s got some life choice they make. People might find the goods to change, which I have. People don’t. See, that’s the hard decision you got to make. Because really, only one person can decide that, to make it happen to stay or to go. Because only one person can see through who’s inside. With yourself, Robynn, you can’t see what I’m thinking. I could tell you whatever I can tell you and that’s all you can accept. But you know. But see it’s beyond that if you think about how I feel it. It’s really about what’s in your heart. How do you feel about this person staying here? Do you feel in your heart he won’t do bad anymore? He got to really coincide with your spirt, this guy I can feel it, there’s no bad spirit running around him anymore. You’ve just got to feel like that. But speaking on black and white, yeah, ship him back. What can you do? That’s what I did. And I have to accept it. That’s why I can’t really blame it on the people. It was a freedom choice vote. Given the choice, if I have all these nice things, too, I would be worried about my stuff too, if someone’s on the loose doing robberies, stealing cars. I mean they might think that their life in danger. 45:23 I mean, let’s get ‘em out of the way. We have less person to worry. But it’s an ongoing process. You can’t never really get rid of it. Unless everybody just bother God. You’re the man up there and everybody doing good.
45:50 THERE’S NO REAL TRIAL. THERE’S NO LOOKING AT REFORM
46:00 That’s one thing about it. See, going through INS court, they don’t see all that did you change, did you do all that? All they see is ok, you did this, you committed a crime, you’ve got to go! There’s no if ands or buts. He have to see it through his heart that this person is not the same person that he was before. And that only, only one person can make that choice through him, and that’s how I got away with it. Because God was in Judge Patel. And Judge Patel see it in my heart that you know what, he’s done doing bad. He’s took everything for granted, he took his family for granted. And that’s how I’m still out here. Because you have to submit yourself to god to see thorugh that. If not, you’re going through a big battle. Because the battle I’m going through, we can’t deal with it based on people now. And htat’s what you have to let god take care of it when it’s beyond your reach. And that’s why I don’t think about it anymore because dealing with INS, I can’t do anything anymore. It’s out of my reach. But working and doing good and passing my time, I can do that. By him giving the blessing and the power to do that, I can do that. But stuff I can’t do, you have to lay it upon him. …Can’t do it, try everything. That’s why he like doing that. Perform miracles. Wake you up! Build your faith up.