Let Thom’s barber remain in Hawaii
An Ala Moana barber for more than 30 years faces possible deportation to his native Japan.
REGULAR customers of Thom's Barber Shop are understandably upset about the absence of Ayato Endo
, who has been cutting their hair at the Ala Moana shop for more than 30 years. Although Endo has admitted falsely stating recently that he is an American citizen in registering as a sex offender because of a 23-year-old conviction, immigration officials should refrain from deporting him to his native Japan.
Endo, 61, was convicted in 1984 of first-degree sexual assault for abusing a 6-year-old girl, but an apparent oversight kept him from being deported to Japan. He has had no other offenses. A lawful permanent U.S. resident since 1971, he has remained in Hawaii, working 13-hour days six days a week at Thom's.
Immigration officials discovered Endo's presence recently in reviewing convicted sex offenders subject to deportation. When Endo was notified last year that he was required to register as a sex offender, he says he claimed U.S. citizenship "out of fear of being deported after all these years." He is now charged with making a false statement to authorities. If convicted, Endo faces a maximum of three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and deportation.
Immigration officers exercise wide discretion in determining whether to deport an alien and should do so in this case. Regional directors were advised in a 2000 memorandum to consider a number of factors in deciding such cases.
Favorable consideration is to be given to legal permanent residents, those who have lived in the United States more than a decade, the time elapsed since the offense, humanitarian concerns and public opinion, among others, according to the memo. Although the charged offense is recent, the underlying offense was 23 years ago. Endo deserves a break from deportation.
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