HomeSoutheast Asian AmericanIce drops deportation proceedings against paralyzed Cambodian refugee

Ice drops deportation proceedings against paralyzed Cambodian refugee

Immigration and Custom Enforcement announced on Friday that it has quietly dropped deportation efforts against a Cambodian refugee who is paralyzed from the neck down, reports the Khmer Times.

Vithea Yung injured himself playing a prison softball game in 2017 while serving a sentence for 35 years to life for a murder he committed in California at the age of 16 while in a gang.

The Parole Board agreed to release him from prison after 25 years based on work he had done to rehabilitate himself and help other inmates. ICE said on Friday it made its decision back in November, but apparently, no one told Yung.

“We’re relieved it was dropped and he’s not going to be transferred to ICE and he’ll receive the care he needs after leaving prison,” said Anoop Prasad, Yung’s lawyer from the non-profit Asian Law Caucus.

Yung told KQED he is proud of the work he did to turn his life around.

“I took classes. I did everything that it took before I went to my parole board hearing. It shocked them a little bit because I did everything before they even asked me to do it,” he said.

Unless California Governor Gavin Newsom moves to block Yung’s parole, he will be released to the care of his family.

KQED reports that Yung’s family fled the Khmer Rouge after two older siblings died of starvation and after the brutal regime imprisoned both his parents.

The family is supporting the Vision Act which would block jail and prison facilities from cooperating with ICE in deportation proceedings after inmates have served their time.

Currently, the corrections department says it cooperates with all law enforcement agencies.

The Asian Law Caucus estimates that 10 percent of the state inmate population is subject to ICE detainers.

“As long as California is relying on ICE to act with decency and compassion, we have a problem, because ICE has a proven track record across administrations of acting with cruelty,” he said. “We need a systemic solution,” said Yung.

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