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Advocates hope to stop detention of Cambodian refugees

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2017 | Immigration Detention

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents seem to be required to have cold hearts to match the acronym on their jackets.

The latest group targeted by ICE agents has already seen enough trauma, abuse and pain to affect them for generations to come. Just the same, ICE agents have pulled over 100 Cambodian refugees out of their communities, families and lives and thrown them into detention to await removal from the country.

From a legal standpoint, advocates and defenders of civil rights everywhere are saying the actions by ICE are dubious, at best. They’re targeting a specific class of people, given no explanation as to why this particular class is being targeted and not giving individual explanations to those detained about why they are being detained.

These detentions and orders of deportation are affecting the Cambodian community in a huge way — many of these immigrants made their way into the country in the 1970s (when immigration was admittedly a lot easier and the rules laxly enforced) to flee the brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge. Others were children brought here by parents fleeing the same regime.

Many of the detainees are men, often the sole source of income in their families. This is thrusting the rest of their families into poverty and making them public burdens — something ICE supposedly doesn’t want to see happen with immigrants in general.

While ICE isn’t giving specific immigrants explanations about the reasons they’re being detained and deported, many have their guesses. For example, some have criminal records that show a single incident in the 1990s. While they’ve since become model citizens with no repeat criminal activity and productive lives, the old offenses are still enough to get them deported — even though the offenses are definitely “old news” to ICE.

Civil rights groups are hoping to gain an order that would stop ICE raids on Cambodian homes and businesses that employ Cambodians. They also hope the courts will issue an order that will stop ICE from detaining someone who has just reported to ICE for their regular check-in on a decades-old charge

If someone you know has been detained, he or she has the right to an attorney. They have the right to show that they are neither dangerous nor a flight risk and deserve bail. They also have a right to experienced legal representation to help them fight their deportation order.

Source: NBC News, “Nonprofits Sue Over Immigration Detention of Cambodian Nationals Who Came as Refugees,” Agnes Constante, Nov. 05, 2017