US steps up Southeast Asian refugee deportation operations

Thirty-six Cambodians were put on flight to Phnom Penh this week, one of the largest groups to be expelled to date.

Three dozen Cambodians – one of the largest groups of Southeast Asian refugees to be deported from the United States to date – arrived in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. They were removed from their final detention center in El Paso, Texas, and put on a Cambodia-bound flight chartered by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Forty-six refugees were scheduled to be flown to Cambodia. However, thanks to lawyers, civil rights organizations and a US governor, the plane had 10 empty seats. Had all 46 been deported, it would have been the largest batch in US history. In April, a record 43 Cambodians were deported in one batch.

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