Over 100 Cambodian Americans have recently been detained for deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
Most of the detainees are currently being held at the Adelanto Detention Facility in Southern California, with case reviews expected to begin on Monday, according to a statement released by Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).
“The majority of the individuals facing deportation to Cambodia are people who came to the U.S. as refugee children, and who came into contact with the criminal justice system before their families were able to naturalize,” SEARAC said. “All of them finished serving their sentences.”
In recent months, the U.S. imposed visa sanctions on the Southeast Asian country after accusing Cambodia of refusing to accept its nationals back into the country
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said, “America is very smart…they keep only good people while they deport prisoners out of their country back to us,” SBS World News reports.
The country denied it has declined to cooperate with the U.S.
“Cambodia did not halt its cooperation nor deny / unreasonably delay accepting its nationals subject to be deported by the US,” it said in a news release.
A government document cites “avoiding family separation and encouraging full integration of the returnees into society” as Cambodia’s goal in negotiating deportations from the U.S.
It affirms that “Cambodia is still prepared to accept its nationals who will be deported by the US and will try by all means to ensure that those Cambodians will be successfully reintegrated into society and begin their new lives with the fullest decency and integrity.”
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