Friday, March 10, 2017

Cambodian American refugee wins reprieve from deportation

Ched Nin celebrates with his family.

AFTER SPENDING six months in immigration detention and being under the threat of deportation, Minnesota resident Ched Nin is back in the loving company of his wife and five children.

Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents arrested Nin in August and began the process of deporting him back to Cambodia because of a 2010 conviction. Nin served two years for that conviction and says deportation on top of that would have been a life sentence.

A judge ruled in February that deporting him would be an undue hardship and ordered him released and returned his green card.

“I am happy to be back home with my family and am moved by the love and support of the community,” said Nin Wednesday (March 8). “My family and I went through a lot these past six months and my heart breaks for those who continue to be separated from their families. I know there is still more work to be done, and I want to help keep families together.”

The ruling comes after an intense campaign by the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, (SEARAC), Mijente, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.Nin’s wife Jenny and seven other Minnesota families whose loved ones also faced imminent deportation are part of a campaign to release the Minnesota 8.

“Jenny and the 'Release Minnesota 8' campaign demonstrate the power of grassroots organizing and embody the fierce resilience of our refugee communities,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “Ched was finally released through legal channels, but it took months of community mobilization by Cambodian Americans and advocates to come this far.”

Nin came to the United States as a refugee at age six in 1986 with his family. He was born in and stayed in Refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines for six years before coming to the United States.

Nin was represented by University of Minnesota Law professor Linus Chan and students John Hoag and Shane Fizmaurice through the James Bringer Center for New Americans.

Dinh added, "While we celebrate Ched's release, it hurts to see so many other refugee families suffering. We'll continue to fight on a systemic level for policies that recognize rehabilitation, second chances, and the sanctity of family."