Cambodians being deported in large numbers

This story was originally published in the December 15, 2017 issue of The Slant. To get Asian American news, media and culture in your e-mail inbox every Friday morning, subscribe today.

Since 45's visit to Asia last month, we've reported on possible deportations of undocumented Vietnamese, Cambodian and other immigrants. This past week, aid groups were informed that more than 70 Cambodians are set to be deported by the end of the month.

Usually, deportees come in groups of 10, so this will overwhelm Cambodia’s capacity to provide the appropriate amount of support and resources.

Where is this coming from?  

In 2002, the U.S. and Cambodia reached a repatriation agreement, which prompted stronger regulation of deportations between the two countries. But unless deportees had criminal records, Cambodia sometimes refused to accept them, citing inhumane treatment and negative effects on its citizens. 

This past September, the U.S. imposed visa sanctions on Cambodia for its refusal. Today, 1,900 Cambodian Americans are at risk for final removal, but approximately 158,000 Cambodian refugees arrived between 1975 and 1994.

What’s the impact?

Well, keep in mind that many of the Cambodians being deported were raised in the United States as children, so they are setting foot into a country where they don't speak the language, understand the culture, or the greater society at large.

The Returnee Integration Support Center, or RISC, is headquartered in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and helps deportees re-integrate into society. But considering the volume of deportation, it'll still be "a challenge."

Interested in signing a SEARAC petition condemning the deportations? Take a look here.

Natalie Bui, editor

Share your thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.