Thuoy Phok expected his meeting with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be brief — so brief that he hadn’t eaten breakfast. A plumber from Tacoma, Phok planned on returning to work later that day.
“I thought maybe it was good news,” Phok, 43, recalls of the Sept. 10, 2018, meeting in Tukwila, taking off his baseball cap and running a calloused hand over his balding head.
Phok, a Cambodian refugee whose family escaped genocide and arrived in the United States in 1980, had received a notice summoning him a few weeks earlier. He said the letter told him only that federal immigration officials — who he’d been checking in with regularly over the last 18 years — wanted to see him.