HomeCommunity IssuesJudge Temporarily Halts Surprise Arrests of Up to 2,000 Cambodian Refugees

Judge Temporarily Halts Surprise Arrests of Up to 2,000 Cambodian Refugees

Cambodian Deportation Protest
Cambodian activists protest the US’s repatriation policy outside the White House in Washington. Photo from Southeast Asian Resource Center

By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

Up to 2,000 Cambodian refugees for now won’t have to live in fear that an officer with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement is hiding in the bushes, waiting to arrest them for deportation.

Judge Cormac Carney from the US District Court in the Central District of California granted a temporary restraining order requiring 14 days notice before ICE can detain a Cambodian with a deportation order.

Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus filed the case with Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Los Angeles and Sidley Austin LLP

The judge temporarily blocked ICE’s practice of rounding up Cambodian refugees without notice.

“The judge has stopped ICE’s practice of ambushing Cambodian refugees who have supported their families and contributed to their communities for years,” Jenny Zhao, an attorney for the Asian Law Caucus, said to AsAmNews. “Now people will have at least some opportunity to talk to a lawyer and make child care plans before being re-detained. This is not just a legal issue, but a matter of basic decency.”

The Temporary Restraining Order remains in place only until January 28. A hearing must still be held to determine what happens after that.

“We are happy the court has temporarily stopped ICE from tearing apart Cambodian families.  But this is just the beginning,” said Minju Cho, Skadden Fellow/Staff Attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles to AsAmNews.  “We will keep fighting until all Cambodian community members are safe from unconstitutional detention and deportation.”

Those impacted are those who have already served their time for crimes committed, but now live under the threat of deportation under a crackdown pushed by the Trump administration.

Those who think they may be impacted by the decision can find more information in this tweet from Asian Law Caucus.

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