November 26, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 25, 2017) — The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) said Friday it denounces the Trump administration for threatening to use visa sanctions to punish the countries of Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for delaying deportations from the United States.

A group of U.S. deportees in Cambodia led a strong campaign this year to pressure Cambodia to stop all deportations from the U.S., effectively halting the issuance of travel documents a number of times in the past year. The Trump administration responded by fulfilling a campaign promise to target countries that don’t cooperate with U.S. deportation policy.

Proponents of the policy claim that these sanctions are necessary to keep the public safe from “criminal aliens,” highlighting a few incidents of immigrants who have reoffended. But for every isolated incident of recidivism, thousands of other fathers and mothers moved on with their lives and are quietly raising their U.S. citizen children, supporting their elderly parents, starting businesses, and supporting youth in the community who might otherwise lack mentors. Deporting these individuals tears families apart, attacking the very heart of our communities.

“The Trump administration’s threat to sanction Cambodia is a violent policy move meant to stoke fear in the community and tear families apart” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “Instead of attacking loving, hard-working families, we must invest our resources in uniting around real, humane, long-lasting solutions to our outdated immigration system. We stand united with families and communities to denounce the Trump administration, and we call on our Congressional leaders to stand with us to protect all vulnerable families.”

Take Action: Members of Congress Need to Hear From YOU
1. Contact your Congressional leaders today.

2. Here’s what you can say:

“My name is ____ from (city, state). I am calling Representative/Senator (name) to denounce the Trump administration’s move to pressure Cambodia into accepting deportees through issuing visa sanctions. This policy will tear families apart and destabilize communities like ours by ignoring the humanitarian implications of deporting refugees. It is important for Congress to weigh in on this. Would you be willing to issue a statement in opposition to this effort by the Trump Administration and to stand in solidarity with the Cambodian community?”

3. You can also use SEARAC’s Talking Points on Cambodian visa sanctions.

*If they answer yes, or ask for more information, direct them to SEARAC Immigration Policy Manager Katrina Dizon Mariategue at [email protected].

The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) is a national organization that advances the interests of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans by empowering communities through advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building to create a socially just and equitable society. Find out more at www.searac.org.

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