Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

LB Press Telegram article on Cambodian deportation advocacy and activism

Expand Messages
  • SIUHIN@aol.com
    LB Press Telegram article on Cambodian deportation advocacy and activism Date: 11/18/2002 2:13:13 PM Pacific Standard Time From: rachelmatsuda@hotmail.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 19, 2002
      LB Press Telegram article on Cambodian deportation advocacy and activism
      Date: 11/18/2002 2:13:13 PM Pacific Standard Time
      From: rachelmatsuda@...

      KGA friends and allies:

      This morning, KGA staff returned from a national conference on Cambodian
      deportation energized and focused on building a national/international
      Southeast Asian movement! Southeast Asians and allied youth and adults
      gathered for a 2-day grassroots conference in Washington, D.C. to share our
      work and to begin visioning/strategizing short and long-term goals as a
      unified community (advocacy, organizing, service, etc.). KGA's local
      organizing work will be fueled by the passion, investment and struggle of
      this powerful, emerging multi-generational Southeast Asian Movement. It was
      a beautiful thing to experience the mutual respect between young and elder
      community leaders. When the Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)
      showed their documentary, "We Shall Not Be Moved," the audience sat still in
      awe of the young organizers' passion and will to see justice prevail. As
      Southeast Asians build a movement based on respect, solidarity, and a long
      history of resistance, struggle, and survival, this largest growing pop. of
      asians in the U.S. continue to rise up faster than most mainstream folk care
      to notice. For more progressive folks (you), support this movement and keep
      your eyes peeled!

      Future updates to come...

      in solidarity,
      Long Beach Press Telegram, Saturday, November 16, 2002

      Cambodian communities lobby Immigration: Activists assert felons deported
      under new policy may face danger in homeland.
      By Bill Hillburg From our Washington Bureau

      WASHINGTON - Cambodian-American activists from Long Beach and other
      large Khmer communities on Friday launched a four-day lobbying campaign
      and conference that seeks to halt controversial deportations of
      convicted felons to Cambodia.

      "Cambodia is not a safe place for these people," said Him Chhim,
      executive director of the Cambodia Association of America in Long Beach
      and a leading critic of the Immigration and Naturalization Service's new
      deportation policy. He cited reports of deportees being jailed upon
      their arrival in Cambodia and also criticized the inclusion of persons
      convicted of nonviolent felonies.

      "We agree with the U.S., and violent criminals should be deported,"
      Chhim said. "But there are also people being deported for offenses like
      shoplifting and drunk driving. We also want to stop deportations until
      we are sure the people will be properly treated."

      Vunyaung Tan, political counselor for the Cambodian Embassy in
      Washington, D.C., denied that deportees were being mistreated.

      "They are free to go when they arrive and have the same rights as all
      Cambodian citizens to live and work where they please," he said. "These
      human rights concerns are just rumors."

      Tan said his government agrees with Cambodian-American activists that
      persons convicted of minor felonies should not be subjects for
      deportation. He also said Cambodia was not pleased with having to accept
      returning violent felons from the United States.

      "The State Department and the INS put pressure on us to sign this
      treaty," added Tan. "They said they would make it harder for Cambodians
      to get visas to come to the U.S.'

      Theary Seng, a Washington attorney and organizer of the lobbying effort,
      said her fellow Cambodian-Americans are particularly at risk of
      deportation because many have failed to go through the procedures to
      become citizens.

      "We were war-weary, down trodden and just happy to be alive here in a
      land of freedom," said the Cambodia-born Seng, who grew up in Cerritos
      and graduated from Valley Christian High School. "So many of us didn't
      deal with passports and green cards.

      "I believe these people face torture in Cambodia, and there should be a
      blanket stop to these deportations until it can be proved otherwise,"
      added Seng.

      Chhim said that Benson Pheng, director of the Long Beach-Phnom Penh
      Sister City Program, would be attending the conference. Three members of
      the Long Beach youth group Khmer Girls in Action/Hope will also be

      Most legal and undocumented immigrant felons have faced deportation
      since the enactment of a 1996 reform law. Cambodian-Americans were not
      immediately included because of concerns over human rights and political
      unrest in Cambodia. That policy changed in March, when the U.S. and
      Cambodia signed a deportation treaty that included pledges of humane

      To date, 27 Cambodian-Americans have been deported and an estimated
      1,500 felons are await ing deportation in INS detention centers at
      Terminal Island and other locations. Chhim said he had heard of cases
      involving detainees and deportees from Long Beach, home of the nation's
      largest Cambodian-American community, but he had no specific details on
      local deportations.

      Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Carson, who will represent Long
      Beach's Cambodian-American community in the next Congress, is pressing
      for passage next year of the Family Reunification Act, which would
      greatly curtail deportations of legal permanent U.S. residents.

      "I am opposed to the forced removal of Cambodians to a country where
      they and members of their families suffered violence and torture,' said
      Millender-McDonald. "Many of them and their relatives supported the
      United States during the Vietnam War and may face severe repercussions
      if sent back.'

      "A lot of these people were born in the refugee camps in Thailand," said
      Chhim. "They've never lived in Cambodia and they don't speak Khmer. It
      would be very hard for them to survive in a country that is totally
      foreign to them."

      Activists will be plotting strategy this weekend and will canvas Capitol
      Hill on Monday to meet with House and Senate members and staffers.

      The conference also includes a contingent from Lowell, Mass., a Boston
      suburb that is home to the nation's second-largest Cambodian-American
      community. Many Lowell residents have family ties to Long Beach.

      As of the 2000 Census, Lowell had 17,301 Cambodian-American residents
      out of a total population of 107,000. Local leaders estimate the actual
      number at 30,000. The Internet site for the Cambodian- American League
      of Lowell includes a link to the Press-Telegram's Web site.

      The 2000 Census reported Long Beach's Cambodian-American population as
      17,393 and the total for Southern California at 36,233. Long Beach
      community leaders, who claim a massive undercount by the Census Bureau,
      estimate the city's actual Cambodian-American population at 40,000.


      *To Translate this page to Arabic, please visit ajeeb.com:

      *To Translate this page to French, Spanish, German, Italian or Portuguese, please visit Systran:
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.