Steve LiSteve Li, the 20-year-old City College of San Francisco student who has returned to San Francisco after spending more than two months in ICE detention, has given an interview to KQED’s Mina Kim. Listen to the interview below.

Li, an undocumented immigrant, was freed after Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a private bill to delay his deportation until after Congress considers the DREAM Act. That legislation would allow certain otherwise deportable students to obtain conditional permanent residency, good for six years.

In the interview, Li describes in detail his arrest at home and his detention.

“They don’t treat you like people,” Li said of his handling by ICE agents at his arrest. “They are very rude. They treat you as a criminal. I was just going to school studying. To be treated like that was a very difficult experience.”

Li said he shared a cell, with three toilets and four showers, with about 60 other people. He said he talked to his family at least once a day, and that his lawyer kept in contact with him about his case.

Li, who was never told he was in the country illegally by his parents, said he doesn”t have contingency plans in case ICE again seeks to deport him. The agency was planning on sending him to Peru, his country of birth, before Feinstein’s intervention.

Listen to the 12-minute interview below

Listen to Steve Li Describe His Arrest and Detention by ICE 23 November,2010Jon Brooks


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor