Freedom Campaigns

Freedom Campaigns: Charles Joseph

Join our Freedom Campaign for Charles Joseph

  • Watch the 15-minute film Bula above, then host a screening with your community! Let us know about your screening plans in this survey.
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  • Invite Charles to speak at your faith community!

Learn More About Charles Joseph

Photo of Charles Joseph

In California, prison and ICE collaboration impacts immigrants and refugees who have served time in state prison. Instead of returning to their families, immigrants who are found suitable for parole are directly transferred into ICE detention facilities where they await deportation.

This form of double-punishment and exile is cruel and separates families. As the faith community, we are called to practice forgiveness, generosity and compassion for immigrants, and those who are incarcerated. 

One way to stop this prison-to-ICE-to-deportation pipeline is for Governor Newsom to intervene and grant pardons for Charles Joseph, Liyah Birru, and other beloved community members.

Charles Joseph is an example of one community member impacted by this prison and ICE collaboration. Charles is a father, husband, artist, musician, and Indo-Fijian leader. He came to the U.S. from Fiji as a permanent resident as a teenager. After being imprisoned at age 22, Charles transformed his life while serving his 13 year sentence by participating in violence prevention programs and developing his artistic talent. However, after winning parole, because of current policy, he was transferred directly into ICE detention and is now facing deportation.

“Charles’ story illustrates the immorality of our legal system, where his conduct as a 22 year old youth is being used to permanently deprive him of the basic right to go home, and reunite with his family and community.” says his lawyer, Francisco Ugarte, SF Public Defender

If Charles is deported to Fiji it would create more trauma for his family. His wife Shelly says, “With my husband in detention it’s already a separation, but for him to think that he may not be able to come home and the uncertainty makes it unstable for me and my family emotionally and physically. A pardon will be our last hope to finally become complete and be a family.”

UPDATE: On April 13, 2020, Charles was released from Mesa Verde Detention Center after a Federal Judge ordered ICE to release him along with three others detained who were at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 infection. Charles is currently living at home with his family in Sacramento, continuing to support the efforts to release others still detained by ICE and continuing to pursue his pardon application with Governor Newsom.

More Videos featuring Charles Joseph

Charles Joseph, and others in the Mesa Verde detention center, speak on Define American, July 16. 2020.
Charles Joseph Pardon Campaign Event held on August 30, 2020. The co-sponsors for this event included Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, Kehilla Community Synagogue, San Francisco Public Defenders, Congregation B’Nai Israel Sacramento, SacAct, All of Us Or None – Sacramento, Jewish for Voice for Peace-Sacramento, NorCal Resist, KWESI, Restore Justice, and UC Davis Asian American Studies Dept.

Charles Joseph spoke on KALW’s Uncuffed podcast on April 8, 2019.