Thursday, December 10, 2015
A throwback 2005 Bill Hing photo
In 2005, immprof (and ImmigrationProf blogger) extraordinaire Bill Ong Hing published Detention to Deportation - Rethinking the Removal of Cambodian Refugees, 38 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 891 (2005). It's a work of tremendous scope and heart.
The article lays out the case for how the United States helped to created the Cambodian refugee crisis as a byproduct of our involvement in the Vietnam War. It documents the ways in which the United States sought to resettle Cambodian refugees stateside and the problems that resulted from resettlement in inner-city neighborhoods, "where crime was rampant and culture was radically different." Hing draws a direct link between resettlement efforts that were not well thought out and the fact that many of the refugee children ended up involved in crime.
The Article then goes on to explain the effect of a March 2002 repatriation agreement between the United States and Cambodia. That agreement paved the way for the deportation of refugees, brought to the United States as children, who accumulated a criminal record in the United States, "to a country that most never knew or left as infants".
Hing strongly "challenges the moral basis for these deportations and asks whether justice is really being served." He concludes:
In our hearts, we know that removal is not always appropriate, especially when our country bears culpability for creating the problem. In our souls, we know that when we repatriate Cambodian refugees, we further destroy a family at a time when the family needs, more than ever before, to be whole.
It's a powerful article. One that pairs wonderfully with the PBS documentary Sentenced Home. I strongly recommend both.