HomeCambodian/ Khmer American30 Cambodian Americans deported Monday

30 Cambodian Americans deported Monday

A coalition of Asian American groups denounced the deportation of more than 30 Cambodian Americans Monday.

The action by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement appears to be part of a crackdown by the Trump administration on refugees with criminal records. Many of those deported have served their time and proven to be outstanding contributing members of the community. Since 2017, the groups say deportations of Cambodian Americans have increased by 279%.

“The deportations of Cambodians and other Southeast Asian Americans devastate our communities. These refugees were pushed into the criminal justice system and served their time in prisons and detention centers,” said Montha Chum, national co-director of the Southeast Asian Freedom Network. “Deportation is cruel and triple punishment simply because they’re not citizens.”

According to Kham Moua of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, all the individuals were deported on a single flight out of the Prairieland Detention Center in Texas. They came from all over the United States including Massachusetts, California and Washington state.

The deportations are occurring during the 45th anniversary of Southeast Asian Americans resettling in this country.

“Removals for Cambodians and all nationalities are directly proportionate to their respective illegal entries into the United States and represent the result of judicious immigration removal proceedings,” an ICE spokeswoman told AsAmNews.

Among the groups joining in the condemnation of ICE are Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, Southeast Asian Freedom Network, and Vietnamese Anti-Deportation Network.

They are supporting a bill by US House Reps. Chuy Garcia, Pramila Jayapal, Karen Bass, and Ayanna Pressley called the New Way Forward Act. The bill would allow reformed criminals to stay with their families in the United States.

” We cannot continue to give second chances to only US citizens and must apply that same standard to all residents in this country,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. “The United States cannot continue to tear our families apart by denying due process protections for refugees and immigrants. Congress must urgently move to advance bills like the New Way Forward Act to give our communities tools to fight their deportations.”   

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