Six months after he was deported to Cambodia, a country he has never visited and a place his family fled as refugees more than two decades ago, Phorn Tem returned Friday to the United States and his waiting family.
It was a surprise to his mother, Run Nhei, who thought she was at the San Francisco International Airport to meet a Cambodian embassy official. When Tem appeared at the arrivals gate, she wept.
“My son is here,” she whispered in her native Khmer as she kissed and hugged her eldest child for the first time in months.
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