*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

Is ICE Targeting Cambodian Immigrants in Los Angeles?

On November 3rd, 2017, the Los Angeles Times filed a disturbing report regarding recent ICE raids occurring throughout the state of California, including in Los Angeles County. According to the reporting, there is strong evidence that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under President Donald Trump, is stepping up raids against certain immigrant communities. Specifically, immigrants of Cambodian origin are facing possible targeting. Worse yet, advocates are openly stating that the federal government is not providing detained immigrants with a fair legal process.

The Story of Nak Kim Chhoeun

The Los Angeles Times report highlights the story of a man named Nak Kim Chhoeun. In 1981, Mr. Chhoeun, who was just six years old, came to the United States as a refugee. During that era his origin country of Cambodia was in tremendous turmoil. He came to the U.S. from a refugee camp in Thailand, where he had escaped the genocide launched by the Khmer Rouge, a horrific tragedy that eventually left more than two million Cambodians dead.

In 1999, Mr. Chhoeun, who was just 18 years old, ran into legal trouble in the United States. As a result, he has been required to report to immigration officials annually. He has been reporting to immigration authorities for nearly two decades now without any incident. However, when he showed up in downtown Los Angeles for his immigration check this year, he was unexpectedly detained. Now, he is facing deportation to a country he never knew for a minor crime committed many years ago.

Why are Cambodians Facing Targeted Enforcement?

In late September, the United States announced certain visa restrictions against Cambodia, as well as three African countries (Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Guinea). These restrictions were put in place by the Trump Administration because those four countries were unwilling to comply with certain American requests to take back deportees.

As a result, many observers believe that ICE is intentionally targeting people of Cambodian descent for deportation as a ‘bargaining chip’ to try to force the Cambodian government to relent. Indeed, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn penned a letter to ICE, warning the agency that people of Cambodian descent cannot and should not be used as pawns by the Trump Administration in a geopolitical game.  

The rights of all immigrants in our community must be fully and fairly protected. Our immigration law firm is keeping a close eye on any developments regarding ICE raids in the Los Angeles area. Unfortunately, ICE has not been transparent with its actions, and the situation on the ground frequently changes. If you need immigration law assistance, we are always here to help.

Get Immigration Law Help Today

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our top-rated immigration attorney in Los Angeles has extensive experience handling deportation cases. If you or a loved one is facing deportation or removal in California, please call us now at (213) 262-2000. We are standing by, ready to help. Our firm is located in downtown Los Angeles, and we serve communities throughout the region.

Josh Goldstein
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