Unable to afford rent, convicted tourist asks court to send him to prison at once


An overstaying Chinese tourist who has been convicted of lying to federal authorities has asked the federal court to send him to prison at once as he is unable to afford rent and is relying on the generosity of fellow church members for assistance.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted Xinzhou Ren’s request and sentenced him yesterday to four days of time-served, plus one year of supervised release. He was also ordered to report to immigration authorities for deportation proceedings. The original sentencing date was June 4, 2020.

Last February, a federal jury found the 20-year-old Ren guilty of lying to U.S. Customs and Border Protection when he entered the CNMI.

Ren, through counsel Robert T. Torres, said that he is without resources and is destitute, having no lawful status in the CNMI and because of delays in his efforts to seek adjudication of his withholding of removal before the immigration court.

Torres said Ren is unable to obtain an Employment Authorization Document and cannot support himself any further. Torres said Ren wishes to start serving the sentence that he expects the court to impose on him for his conviction. Torres said he has discussed this request and the U.S. government has indicated that it is considering recommending a sentence of six months (180 days).

It is Ren’s desire to report to the Department of Corrections so that he may start getting credit toward any sentence imposed by the court. Once he completes his sentence he may then submit himself to and not contest his removal to mainland China without delay.

Ren requested for an expedited presentence investigation report.

Torres said it is Ren’s view, as well as that of the U.S. government, that the jury trial bore out many of the facts regarding his background and history, including his education, employment, health, and family ties.

Torres said Ren is ready, willing, and able to commence serving time for the anticipated penalty for his conviction.

A complaint charged Ren with making false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations filed the complaint.

The defendant has been released on his personal recognizance.

Assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe prosecuted the case.

DHS Homeland Security Investigations special agent Nicole Sively stated in her affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, said she first encountered the defendant at the HSI Saipan Office last May 13.

Sively said records indicated that Ren was granted CNMI-Only Conditional Parole by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until May 15, 2018 and overstayed that authorized date.

Sively said during an administrative interview last May 13, Ren stated that he told the officers at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport that he was on Saipan as a visitor.

Sively said according to Ren he used that as an excuse because he wanted to escape China.

Ren stated he was not arrested in China, but was wanted by the police in Hebei Province, China in 2015.

Ren also allegedly stated that he left China because he was persecuted by his government due to his religion.

The defendant stated he feared he would be harmed if he returns to China.

Sively said Ren subsequently admitted he did not have such fear and was staying in the CNMI for other reasons.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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