December 24, 2018
Governor Brown Demonstrates Commitment to Stopping Southeast Asian Deportations
San Francisco, CA – Today Governor Jerry Brown granted pardons to six Cambodian refugees facing deportation, including several Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus clients. These pardons begin to heal the wounds left by decades of US policy targeting these communities, including punitive criminal justice measures in California that disproportionately affect Southeast Asians.
Sear Un, one of the people pardoned, was scheduled to be on a deportation flight last week. Sear immigrated to the United States from Cambodia in 1984, fleeing genocide at the age of 7. In 1998, he was convicted for a residential burglary that netted him a total of $120. In the two decades since, Sear never committed another crime and instead dedicated himself to his family and community.
The past year has been devastating for Southeast Asian refugee communities as ICE carried out the largest raids on the Cambodian and Vietnamese communities in U.S. history. Just a week ago, ICE was flying Sear and 35 other Cambodians to Texas, where another flight was scheduled to deport them to Cambodia. During the flight, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus attorneys learned of Governor Brown’s pardon. That pardon pulled Sear off of this deportation flight and allows him time to reopen his case in immigration court.
“I have a lot of gratitude for my family and community for standing up for me,” said Sear Un. “I hope that future California governors will continue to recognize the injustice afflicting our communities today and act to end the suffering that continues to tear our families apart.”
“We are profoundly grateful that Sear is home for the holidays and that he was released from ICE custody in time for his daughter’s 4th birthday,” said Kevin Lo, Staff Attorney at Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. “While we applaud Governor Brown for pardoning Sear, ICE continues to raid the Cambodian community every four months. We hope Governor-Elect Newsom will continue using pardons to prevent these unjust deportations.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights Asian American organization. Recognizing that social, economic, political, and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, we are committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society, with a special focus directed towards addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant, and underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.