Thousands of Southeast Asian refugees, are in a state of devastating limbo.
[Editor’s Note: Given the sizable Hmong population in La Crosse and the Twin Cities, this is an issue to pay attention to. — Mark L. Taylor]
By Huiying B Chan
Daily Kos (1/24/19)
The National Week of Action to End Southeast Asian Deportations began on Saturday, Jan. 19. Thirteen organizations across the country are uniting in 15 cities to uplift Southeast Asian-American communities as they continue to be terrorized by mass deportations and incarceration. These grassroots groups are calling on local leaders and Congress to champion policies to protect immigrants and refugees and end the criminalization and demonization of community members. At the very core, these actions highlight the voices and needs of a community often overlooked in mainstream conversations about immigration and deportations.
Southeast Asians, especially Cambodian refugees, are facing rampant deportations under the Trump regime. In 2017, the largest raid ever carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement happened in the Cambodian community; over 100 refugees were detained. In 2018, right before Christmas, 36 Cambodians were deported, finding themselves on a flight back to a country that many had never stepped foot in.
Many of those deported or slated for deportation have lived nearly all their lives in the U.S. and are being forced to return to homes they’ve never known. Oftentimes, they do not speak the country’s languages.
Although these numbers may not seem high, any deportation is one too many, and these numbers are significant for this group, at nearly triple what they were the previous year. Now, in 2019, community members continue to fear for their lives.
Around 16,000 Southeast Asians with permanent U.S. residence have received final deportation orders, according to the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center. The majority of them live in a state of limbo, susceptible to ICE detention and deportation at any moment. Just two weeks ago, on Jan. 4, after months of community advocacy, a judge ordered that ICE must now give 14 days’ notice before carrying out deportation orders against Cambodian refugees. This was a significant temporary win for Cambodian refugees, who now do not have to worry and fear that they will be separated from their families at any moment. However, it still leaves 14,000 Southeast Asians in flux.
Despite Donald Trump’s ceaseless railing against the Latino population, the Southeast Asian-American community is the largest refugee community ever to resettle in the United States. Many are refugees who were violently uprooted by events during the Vietnam War, during which the U.S. secretly bombed Cambodia with 2.7 million tons of explosives. This helped enable the Khmer Rouge’s rise to power, which led to a genocide that killed over 2 million people. In Laos, the United States government also carried out mass bombings. These American military interventions in Southeast Asia created the need for refugees to flee mass violence, but instead of receiving adequate resources and support in the U.S., the Southeast Asian community was and continues to be overlooked. …
NBC Asian America — Deported: A Grassroots Movement (Part 1 of 5)
NBC New (3/16/17)
In part 1 of “Deported,” advocates and organizers of 1Love Movement lay out their efforts to find a way to end the deportation of Cambodian refugees from the United States, and their hopes to revise the repatriation agreement that opened the pathway for the U.S. to deport refugees back to Cambodia. “Deported,” created by Sahra V. Nguyen, is a five-part documentary series on “NBC Asian America Presents…” that follows the global movement to end the deportation of Cambodian refugees from the United States. Over the course of the documentary, advocates made urgent appeals to the United Nations and traveled to Cambodia to sit down at the table with representatives of the Cambodian government.