Browsing Tag


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Deported Cambodian refugee returns home to Southern California after 11 years

Cambodian deportee
  • In 2011, ICE deported Cambodian refugee Sophea Phea to a country her family fled from in the 1970s to escape genocide.
  • While in Cambodia, Phea became a teacher and started advocating for other Southeast Asian deportees in a bid to help them return home to the U.S.
  • After years of advocacy, she finally received a pardon from Calif. Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020.
  • Phea, now 40, reunited with her family and loved ones last month in Long Beach.
  • “I have a big family, so I am looking forward to participating in family functions again and reconnecting with all of them!” she said upon her return. “I also look forward to pursuing my career in the education field and going back to school to get my degree.”

After being deported to Cambodia in 2011, a former refugee was recently reunited with her family and loved ones in Long Beach, California.

Sophea Phea, 40, was able to return to the U.S. last month, two years after Governor Gavin Newsom pardoned her from her criminal record. 

California lawmakers reject bill that aims to stop prison-to-ICE transfers

  • VISION Act (AB 937) fell three votes short of the 21 it needed to pass in the California Senate on Wednesday.
  • Introduced by Assemblymember Wendy Carillo last year, the legislation aims to bar state prisons from transferring inmates to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after they finish serving their sentences.
  • Asian immigrants Bounchan Keola and Kao Saelee, who worked as incarcerated firefighters, were among those taken by ICE custody after being released.
  • Supporters of the bill say the inmates have already served their time and deserve a chance to restart their lives.
  • Critics, on the other hand, believe they continue to be a threat to society, especially those with violent criminal history.
  • With the Senate rejection, the bill returns to the Assembly for a final vote before heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

A bill that would bar California jails from moving inmates to federal immigration custody after completing their prison sentences was rejected by the state Senate on Wednesday.

The legislation, known as the VISION Act (AB 937), received an 18-13 roll call in the Senate. Four Democrats and nine Republicans opposed the bill, which fell three votes short of the 21 needed for its passage. 

Burger King Japan releases world’s first Ice Whopper for a limited time

In what may be considered an eyebrow-raising move, Burger King Japan has announced a limited-time Whopper with ice shavings as part of a new summer meal.

The new Whopper, which has been dubbed the “Ice Whopper,” will be released as part of a limited-time special “Natsukoi Set” (“Summer Love Set“) on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20. Included in the set is an “ice bottle,” which is essentially a frozen bottle of Coca-Cola, according to PR Times via SoraNews24.

Cambodian American domestic abuse survivor graduates from college after serving 16 years in prison

  • A Cambodian American woman who faced deportation after serving 16 years in prison has graduated with a degree in sociology.
  • Ny Nourn, who immigrated to the U.S. at age 5, thanked everyone who never gave up on her while she attended San Francisco State University.
  • Nourn was detained by ICE in 2017 after being incarcerated for 16 years for her role in the killing of her former boss, David Stevens, in 1998.
  • Nourn also pointed out in a follow-up tweet the social inequality that is evident in mass incarceration.
  • Nourn is now co-director of the Asian Prisoner Support Committee and plans to raise $25,000 to “support incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and deported community members.”

A Cambodian American woman who faced deportation after serving 16 years in prison has graduated from college.

Ny Nourn, who immigrated to the U.S. at age 5, thanked everyone who never gave up on her while she pursued a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from San Francisco State University.

Controversial Acting Ice Director Tony Pham to Quit After 5 Months

Tony Pham

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Tony H. Pham will step down from office by the end of the year, citing personal reasons.

The Vietnamese American official replaced Matt Albence in the role in August, heading the enforcement agency in numerous operations that targeted illegal immigrants across the country — including “sanctuary” cities that supposedly protected them.

Man Who Helped Fight California Wildfires Sent to ICE for Deportation

Kao Saelee

Kao Saelee was supposed to be released last month after serving 22 years in prison, but he was transferred instead to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation, according to the Guardian.

Paying his debts to society: Saelee, who was jailed for a robbery case from his youth, not only served his sentence but also worked as an incarcerated firefighter for California in 2018 and 2019.

Trump Admin Walks Back Plan to Deport International Students Enrolled in Only Online Classes

online classes

After sparking a series of lawsuits, the Trump administration backed out of its proposed visa policy that planned to deport international students enrolled only in online classes

What ICE intended to do: Last week, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that student visa holders whose courses are now entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be required to depart the country or transfer schools. 

Elderly Korean Man Kept in ICE Detention for Nearly 90 Days Allegedly Kills Himself


A 74-year-old South Korean man died of an apparent suicide inside his cell in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in California.

Choung Woong Ahn was found unresponsive inside his cell at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center in Bakersfield on Sunday, according to Associated Press. A team of advocates and attorneys were working on his release, pointing out the risk of him being infected with the coronavirus.

ICE Agents Let Sex Traffickers Go Free After Getting Hand Jobs From Asian Prostitutes

sex trafficking

Agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) — a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — reportedly paid “Asian females” for handjobs in undercover operations that sought to combat sex trafficking in Mohave County, Arizona in 2018.

Within a five-month period that year, the agents, identified only as “Arturo” and “Sergio,” documented 17 sexual encounters with subjects working at eight massage parlors in the county, according to records obtained by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at Arizona State University (ASU).