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Morning Brief: Info From ICE, The Oscars Slap, And Ballet Folklórico

A 2.5 year-old girl holds a sign that reads "Free My Uncle."
Vithea Tung's 2.5 year-old niece holds a sign calling for his release at a rally in downtown LA on March 25.
(Josie Huang
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 29.

For Vithea Yung, some surprise news came recently — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement dropped its hold on the Cambodian-born 43-year-old, allaying fears that he may be deported upon his tentative April release from the California prison system.

The problem? ICE instructed prison officials to cancel the immigration hold on Yung in November. No one informed Yung or his attorney, Anoop Prasad.

“While we celebrate this rare community victory, California cannot rely on ICE — an agency with a track record of cruelty and abuse — to act with basic decency when it comes to the well being of its residents,” said Prasad.

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My colleague Josie Huang reports that Yung’s friends and family, along with a number of activists, have been fighting for the prison system not to release Yung to ICE, as that often leads to non-citizen inmates being deported to countries they may know nothing of. That’s certainly the case for Yung, whose family came to the U.S. as refugees when he was a child and settled in Long Beach.

With April right around the corner, stress was mounting for Yung and his loved ones. Now, it seems unlikely that he’ll be in danger of deportation, although Ny Nourn, co-director of the Asian Prisoner Support Committee, notes that she doesn’t “trust ICE.”

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At a recent rally, Yung’s sister, Terry Honore, described her brother’s work to improve his life while incarcerated after being convicted of murder as an adult for a fatal gang-related shooting when he was 16, including studying and mentoring.

Honore also said that due to an injury in prison that left him paralyzed from the neck down, Yung was not only a threat, but needed assistance to get through the day.

“He needs us,” she said, “to help him live life with dignity.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go ... This Week's Event Pick: Ballet Folklórico

Three ballet folklorico dancers in brightly colored dresses
Ballet Folklórico de México de Amália Hernandez performs on March 30 at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa.
(Courtesy of Ballet Folklórico de México de Amália Hernandez)
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Founded in 1952 by dancer and choreographer Amalia Hernández, the Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández features 76 folk dancers and has developed choreography for 40 ballets. Held at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the show includes festive music, swirling dances, and colorful costumes from pre-Columbian times through the modern era.

Or, you could: Check out The Black Version (of movies) live on stage. View artworks at The Other Art Fair. Take in the music and dance of Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández. Give back to the community for Cesar Chavez Day. And more.

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