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US deports Cambodian despite stay order by US court

Khmer Times Share:
File picture of past deportees on arrival in Cambodia. Photo Supplied

Despite an emergency stay order to prevent the deportation of a Cambodian from the United States last week, the US authorities still went ahead with the deportation, forcing him to leave the country with literally just the clothes on his back.

The deportee was one of 30 recently deported from the US despite an emergency stay order issue by a judge to prevent the deportation.

As a result of the blatant flouting of the judge’s decision, the deportee had to leave the US – even through he had a temporary stay order issued. He had come to US as a refugee some 30 years ago and lived in California.

A local online news site, CNE, said that the man had received an emergency stay of removal on Jan. 14, according to court records from the Board of Immigration Appeals. However, tragically, that was two days after he was deported, according to Kevin Lo, an attorney at legal and civil rights organization Asian American Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus.

Lo said he does not have his client’s permission to share details about his case. He estimated that at least a few deportees in each of the past five deportation flights to Cambodia since early 2018 have experienced similar situations and say this is a blatant disrespect of the judiciary.

The latest batch of deportees have landed in Cambodia in a state of shock on Jan. 15, according to Bill Herod, spokesman for the Khmer Vulnerability Aid Organization, which has provided support and resources to deportees since 2002.

Many are not fluent in Khmer, the language spoken in the country. Some have “severe mental health or physical conditions before deportation”, according to a Washington Monthly article. A majority of deportees have entered the United States as refugees to flee the Khmer Rouge, a brutal regime that ruled Cambodia under dictator Pol Pot from 1975 to 1979.

Since 2002, 41 of 768 deportees who arrived in Cambodia have died, six by suicide, Herod said. Six have died in the last two months.

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