A crowd of Khmer community members gathered to sign holiday cards last Wednesday. The recipients? Deportees sent to Cambodia, a country many of them barely know.
The Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) event Not Home for the Holidays took place at McBride Park that day and held a discussion on the local impact of deportation. They shared ideas on how to keep families united.
At a table, a lotus flower had the names of those impacted by deportation written on it. Remaining family members described the heartbreak from their loved ones being taken away from them.
Stephanie Sim said there has been an emotional and financial toll on her family after her brother was deported. It has put a lot of stress on her family.
“The highest populations of Cambodians outside of the United States live here,” said Joy Yanga, KGA Communications and Program Coordinator. “If the community unites together, we can make a difference and let our voices be heard. Our community demands the right to return home to America and an end to deportation.”
If immigration reform passes, it will help families and communities to not feel the hardship from being separated from each other, said Touch Hak, a local resident.
Chanthaveth Ros also spoke at the event, lamenting on a very real future for her family as her son faces deportation. The ordered deportation is tearing her and her family apart.
Attendees at the event signed pledge cards to support the national movement to end deportation. The Southeast Asian Freedom Network’s Campaign Solidarity Letter is linked here.