The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has reported that 80 Cambodians convicted of crimes in the US were deported last year.
“An ICE removal is compulsory and confirms movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States,” the report said. “ICE plays a critical role in the national security and public safety of this country by upholding America’s immigration laws as set by Congress.”
The US deported 110 Cambodians convicted of crimes in 2018, it added.
The latest ICE deportation figures were confirmed by a senior official at the General Department of Identification who declined to be named.
The official said 25 Cambodians were repatriated in January as part of ICE’s 2019 batch of deportees.
“We are negotiating with the US on their behalf,” the official said. “We have asked the US to provide funding so [deportees] have enough money to live in Cambodia.”
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, yesterday said Cambodia received 749 people from 2002 to July last year and many of them had never set foot in Cambodia.
ICE spokesman Brendan Raedy could not be reached for comment yesterday, but he previously said 1,799 non-detained Cambodians in the US have been issued with final orders of removal.
US embassy spokeswoman Emily Zeeberg could also not be reached for comment.
According to media reports, the US accepted 145,000 Cambodian refugees displaced by war between 1975 and 2000.
The US has since begun deporting those who were convicted of crimes.
In 2018, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged the US to reconsider its stance on deportation, arguing that it is inhumane.
“These deportations are heartbreaking as these men and women are now permanently separated from their families, communities and the only culture most of them ever knew,” Bill Herod, spokesman for the Khmer Vulnerability Aid Organization, said yesterday.