Judy Chu and AAPI Caucus Sound Alarm Over Deportations of Southeast Asians
Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and Southeast Asian American community leaders on Wednesday highlighted the alarming spike in the detention and deportation of Southeast Asians under the Trump administration. “Southeast Asians from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam comprise of the largest refugee population ever to settle in the United States. Many are here because of their families either allied with the U.S. during the Vietnam war or because they were forced to flee violence and genocide,” said CAPAC Chair Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA). As of September 2018, ICE reported that an estimated 1,900 Cambodian immigrants have pending deportation orders. About 1,400 have a criminal conviction, and the rest are undocumented for other reasons. In many cases, the refugees had put their past transgressions behind them only to have their cases dredged up by Trump’s anti-migrant crusade. “Upon arrival in the U.S., many of these individual[s] were resettled in struggling and impoverished neighborhoods. And still coping with the significant trauma from the war,” said Chu. “Some of these made mistakes as teenagers and young adults that funneled them into our criminal justice system. All of them have served their time and yet now they are being persecuted for crimes they committed many times from over three decades ago.” Advocates argue that the deportation drive violates humanitarian and constitutional principles and plunges already vulnerable communities into crisis. Although Cambodia’s repatriation arrangement with the United States has allowed some 500 refugee deportations since first enacted in 2002, the administration anticipates deporting roughly 200 refugees annually, ultimately expelling all 1,900 of those with pending deportation orders over ten years. Watch the video here.