NBC 4 New York
NBC 4 New York viewers responded after watching 10-year-old Toby Shi cry for his mother, whom he hasn't seen in months after she was arrested but not charged. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.
The Brooklyn family of the immigrant mother jailed for months without being charged is hopeful as authorities have agreed to look into the case after an NBC 4 New York report provoked a large response from the community.
Viewers have been contacting NBC 4 New York after watching 10-year-old Toby Shi sob for his mother, Jian Ling Lin, who has been held in a detention facility in Farmville, Va. since June. And the story has not only touched New Yorkers, who have been offering financial assistance and babysitting help, but it seems the government is also listening.
"The last conversation we had with her deportation officer before this week was that they're going to indefinitely hold her -- and now they're talking about it, so we're hopeful," said CJ Wang, the family's attorney.
Wang has started a petition on change.org, hoping to gather enough signatures to compel Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to close Lin's case.
"The more support we have, the more ICE will get communications and the more likely they will be to release her," said Wang.
Lin was arrested in Virginia during an ICE sting to uncover green card fraud. It's not clear why she was taken into custody -- she wasn't charged with either selling or trying to buy a green card, but others were.
As she remains jailed, Toby and his 6-month-old sister Mia have been left in the care of their 62-year-old grandfather, who is disabled and has health issues. He said he has no experience caring for infants and cannot continue being the sole caregiver.
Toby said his father is a restaurant worker in another state who works every day "and he doesn't have time to come home."
In a statement to NBC 4 New York, ICE said it was reviewing Lin's case.
Toby hopes to be able to make a trip to Virginia in the meantime.
"My mom says, only if you have time, because my mom says it's a very long trip down there," he said .