Associations, advocates and legal and rights NGOs are protesting the possible deportation of members of the Cambodian community from the US. At least 30 arrests are expected, they said.
This follows the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency’s plans for “check-ins” with those who have been issued deportation orders on Thursday.
The protests have been organised by the Khmer Anti-Deportation Advocacy Group, FIGHT, the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), Greater Boston Legal Services and many others.
A protest organised by AARW, Greater Boston Legal Services and the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA) took place in Boston, Massachusetts on Monday.
Three more are planned for Thursday in Californian cities Sacramento and San Francisco, as well as Tacoma in Washington state.
AARW said on Monday that at least 10 Cambodian residents of Massachusetts were to be detained this week in the latest round of ICE raids that were “terrorising Southeast Asian communities”.
It said members of the Cambodia American community last week received notices to report to ICE on Thursday at detention centres across the US.
“It has been 44 years since the wars in Southeast Asia that displaced the community to the US.
“The same country that created safety and refuge for our people is the same country now targeting the community for mass detentions and deportations to the countries we fled,” AARW organising director Kevin Lam said on Monday.
AARW said Southeast Asian people had faced many struggles after their arrival in the US, including mental health issues, poverty, poor school environments and over-zealous policing.
“The lack of structural support drove many Southeast Asians to commit crimes of varying degrees, which stripped them of their green cards.
“But for many Southeast Asians advised to plead guilty to certain crimes, they were unaware of the immigration consequences that would make them vulnerable to deportation,” AARW said.
Kevin Lo, an immigration attorney with the Asian Law Caucus, a legal and civil rights organisation, said the ICE raids would hit Cambodian American communities across the country this week.
Some 20 people in California and 10 in Massachusetts expected to be arrested, he said, adding that further arrests were expected in several other states as well.
On Monday, ICE said it had arrested 97 criminal aliens and immigration violators in a five-day enforcement drive across six Midwestern states.
Emily Zeeberg, the spokesperson for the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, referred questions to the US’ Department of Homeland Security, while Britney Walker, press officer at the ICE Office of Public Affairs did not respond to The Post by press time.