Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khmer-American group protests fresh deportations

Khmer-American group protests fresh deportations

People participate in a demonstration against the deportation of Cambodian-Americans on Wednesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota. IKARE
People participate in a demonstration against the deportation of Cambodian-Americans on Wednesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota. IKARE

Khmer-American group protests fresh deportations

A coalition of Khmer-American and immigration groups staged a rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this week to protest the pending deportations of several Cambodian-Americans to the Kingdom.

The deportations are carried out under a 2002 agreement that allows the US to deport Cambodian-Americans who have been convicted of felonies and who lack US citizenship. Holding placards reading “stop deporting Cambodian refugees”, dozens gathered on the street in the US city on Wednesday.

“This is not about sending criminals back,” said organiser Kosol Sek, president of Cambodian refugee support group IKARE, in an online video. “This is about people that have already served [their sentences]. They’ve already been released back to build a family.”

Sek said 20 Cambodian-Americans currently faced deportation in Minnesota, including Sameth Nhean, Posy Chheng, Ched Nin, Phoeuy Chuon, Chamroeun Phan and Chan Om, who were detained when attending an immigration check late last month.

Each has lived in America since childhood, arriving as refugees after the Khmer Rouge were overthrown in 1979.

The treaty allows Cambodians living in the US to be deported to Cambodia and barred from re-entering America for crimes ranging from drunk driving to murder. As of last year, there were a total of 467 deportees; most had never stepped foot in Cambodia since leaving.

The convictions of many of those in the most recent group are more than a decade old, according to online petitions advocating their release.

In one petition, Sovanna Leng, the brother of Chan Om, wrote that the family’s world had been turned “upside down” by the decision. Reached yesterday Sophea Phea, one of the deportees now in Cambodia, said the policy had devastating consequences. “It rips families apart,” she said.

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton


  • Professor beaten by mob in Phnom Penh after alleged hit-and-run

    Updated with new information: 6:44am, Tuesday March 13 2018 A university professor accused of a hit-and-run has been transported to Vietnam with serious head injuries after he was brutally beaten by a mob in Phnom Penh late Sunday afternoon. A video of the attack shows a group

  • American ‘fugitive’ arrested in Cambodia outside of US Embassy

    An American citizen was arrested on request by the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, according to Cambodian police. Major General Uk Hei Sela, chief of investigations at the Department of Immigration, identified the man as American Jan Sterling Hagen, and said he was

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and