PETITION AGAINST FORCED DEPORTATION WITHOUT DUE PROCESS sign now

July 7, 2002

PETITION AGAINST FORCED DEPORTATION WITHOUT DUE PROCESS
A Call For Freedom!

We, the undersigned, oppose the forced deportation of immigrants of the United States without adequate due process. In particular, we oppose the involuntary deportation of Cambodian immigrants to Cambodia. Most of the 200,000 Cambodians living in the United States came here as refugees during and after the Viet Nam War, risking their lives to flee a war-torn native land. Presently, 1500+ Cambodian refugees have received letters of removal to Cambodia. 27 have already been forcibly deported in accordance with the agreement recently signed by the United States and Cambodia.

We oppose the forceful deportation of Cambodian Americans for the following reasons:

DEPORTATION BREAKS UP FAMILIES:

Many of these individuals arrived in the United States as young children and have resided here for at least 20 years. They have no or little social, familial and/or political nexus to Cambodia. Moreover, they do not present a threat to society and, in fact, many contribute substantially to our community. Over half of these 1400 are main income earners. They have American-born children and/or other family members who are dependent on them. It is morally reprehensible to break up family members.

For example, "Savet" survived the "Killing Fields" and came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1980 at the age of nine. She has no surviving family members in Cambodia. Now, a single mother of three American-born children under 12 years old, she has served 18 months in prison for corporal punishment of her child (she did not realize it was illegal in the U.S. as she grew up with a culturally different disciplining method). Because of the mandatory deportation policy, she was detained for an additional three years in INS detention centers far away from her young children. She is now slated for deportation to Cambodia. She has no means to survive in Cambodia and her children cannot
survive without her. Forcible deportation unjustly punishes her and her children.

UNFAIR & EXCESSIVE PUNISHMENT OF OUR COMMUNITY MEMBERS:

The 1996 Immigration and Welfare Reform policy stipulates that non-citizens convicted of certain crimes, including aggravated felonies are mandatorily deportable. Additionally, aggravated felony has been broadened to include shoplifting, corporal punishment, D.U.I. and other minor violations. Although they have completed their sentences, many have languished indefinitely in INS
detention centers due to the deportation policy. Many of these individuals did not receive adequate legal representation, did not have any or adequate iinterpreters, or were coerced into plea bargains without understanding the implication for deportation in the future (their lawyers and judges claimed an agreement between the U.S. and Cambodia would never be signed). Sending these members of our community back to Cambodia after they have already served their sentences is cruel and unusual punishment and is an egregious violation of their human rights. We exhort the Department of Justice and the INS to reconsider their deportation policy. We demand a moratorium on all deportations. We appeal for justice for these individuals, who have the right to stay in the United States with their families and our community from which they draw love and support.

For more information: http://www.apiforce.org and http://www.searac.org or email [email protected]

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Jeannine CooperBy:
City LifeIn:
Petition target:
INS

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