Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said Tuesday that her office has received multiple reports of Cambodian immigrants being targeted by federal immigration agents, prompting her to reach out to the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security.
Hahn’s letter to Elaine Duke characterizes the detentions as “sudden and without warning” and notes that many of those detained have lived and worked in the U.S. for decades without incident, faithfully reporting to their local office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for years.
“There is speculation that Cambodians have been targeted because of ongoing disagreements between the United States and Cambodia,” Hahn wrote. “This diplomatic detente resulted in visa denial for Cambodians looking to travel to the United States on business or tourism.”
Hahn represents a large Cambodian community in Long Beach and said at least one of her constituents was swept up in reportedly ramped-up enforcement efforts.
“If it is true, as we hear, that the Administration is using this man and other gainfully employed, civically engaged Cambodians as bargaining chips with the Cambodian government, then we urge the Department of Homeland Security to release these people to their families, their jobs, and their communities while the diplomats work things out,” Hahn wrote. “My residents and their families cannot be used as pawns.”
President Donald Trump has nominated his deputy chief of staff, Kirstjen Nielsen, to fill the DHS post left vacant by John Kelly when he moved to take the job of White House chief of staff. Nielsen is awaiting Senate confirmation.
–City News Service
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