Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

We won't let ICE tear apart the Cambodian community

Monday, November 6th 2017

Rickie and his dog
Rickie posing with his dog before being detained by ICE.

Nak Kim (“Rickie”) Chhoeun and his family fled the Khmer Rouge and arrived in the United States when he was only six years old. Now, he and over a hundred other Cambodian refugees have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with final deportation orders. These are the largest raids to ever target the Cambodian community and nearly 2,000 other Cambodian refugees across the country are still at risk of being unlawfully arrested.

That’s why we, along with our sister organization Advancing Justice - ALC in San Francisco and the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, have filed a nationwide class action lawsuit challenging these unlawful arrests.

Rickie spent much of his childhood in Thai refugee camps before coming to the U.S. He barely remembers Cambodia. When Rickie was younger, he served time for a crime he committed, and was given deportation orders that have not been filled. After this incident, he completely changed. In the 18 years since his conviction, he has held a steady job as a satellite technician for AT&T and has complied with the terms of his order of supervision with ICE. He’s received awards for his work and lived a peaceful life, focusing on family and friends.

Rickie with his mother and two sisters.

On October 20, 2017, ICE unexpectedly asked Rickie to report. This is when he was suddenly arrested and subsequently detained. His family was shell-shocked and have no idea when they’ll see him again. The United States is the only home he’s ever known. All his six siblings and his mother are U.S. citizens.

Like Rickie, the class members in the lawsuit were released by ICE years or decades ago because Cambodia refused to accept them for deportation. They returned to their communities and have led peaceful and productive lives. Many have U.S. citizen spouses, children, siblings, and relatives who rely on them for support. Now, once again, they’re separated from their loved ones and face deportation from the only home they know.

We can’t let ICE tear these families apart. Please sign our petition to show your support for the Cambodian community and share this issue on social media using #RefugeeResilience.

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Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.