Illustration by Natalie Bui.

Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids into Southeast Asian communities across the country are set to take place this week, according to the Khmer Anti-deportation Advocacy Group of Washington (KHAAG).

The United States has been deporting Khmer Americans to Cambodia since a 2002 MOU was established between the two countries.

Since the Trump administration’s arrival, the Khmer American community has felt an escalation of aggressiveness towards removals and deportation by ICE.

With a community that makes up less than 1 percent of the total population of the United States, the impact is especially staggering. In 2018, there was a 279 percent increase in deportations to Cambodia, with over 110 Khmer Americans deported, the highest ever in a single year.

The Trump administration has also begun to more aggressively target people from other Southeast Asian communities including Vietnam and Laos.

In a response to the planned raids, KHAAG, in collaboration with the First United Methodist Church and the Faith Action Network, and Formerly Incarcerated Group Healing Together (FIGHT) are organizing a community event this week.

“We are joining together with impacted families and community partners to highlight the continued attacks on our communities and urge an end to immigration enforcement.  Since the Northwest Detention Center (Processing Center) is in Tacoma, and check-ins are scheduled this week, we want impacted families to know that they have people and organizations here to support them through this process.” said Savong Lam, an organizer for KHAAG who is helping spearhead this rally.

“[Our] goal is to 1. Prepare people for the raids 2.  Connect impacted families with resources 3. Bring awareness to the community and our leaders  about what is happening in our community to #StopTheRaids and #KeepFamiliesTogether”

The Protect Refugees WA: Cambodian Deportation Defense Rally will be held on Thursday, October 3 at 4:00pm at the Tacoma Federal Building located at 1717 Pacific Avenue.

The event will feature speakers from affected communities as well as resources for those navigating immigration.

Visit the event’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/774271423031044