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The U.S. War on Immigrants Continues: Cambodians Face ICE Raids

Immigrant rights groups warn that Cambodian communities are the next likely targets of ICE raids. We need a mass movement to defend immigrant rights against the Biden administration’s ongoing assault.

Samuel Karlin

February 19, 2022
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A protest in Burlington, Massachusetts, in 2019. Photo: Shannon Dooling/WBUR.

Cambodian communities appear to be the next target of the U.S. war on immigrants. Posts are circulating on social media warning Cambodians to anticipate ICE raids, informing these communities of their rights and how to prepare, and calling on others to support their Cambodian neighbors. 

There was a spike in deportations to Cambodia under the Trump administration, but raids on these communities slowed down during the rise of the pandemic. Earlier this week, Southeast Asian rights groups began warning that there are signs ICE will soon resume its targeted raids on Cambodian American communities.

President Joe Biden has already continued many of the anti-immigrant policies implemented by Donald Trump. Early in Biden’s first year, he deported more Haitian immigrants in a few weeks than Trump deported in an entire year. Biden has also hinted he will continue building Trump’s infamous border wall. The number of migrant detentions at the border has soared under Biden.

An estimated 320,000 Cambodian immigrants live in the United States, with a significant concentration in Fresno, California. For this reason, immigrant rights advocates are calling on people to pay especially close attention to ICE activity in that San Joaquin Valley city.

Like many immigrants , Cambodian people came to the United States not by choice, but as refugees from U.S. imperialism. Many Cambodians and other Southeast Asians fled the chaos brought on by the Southeast Asia War (more commonly known as the Vietnam War). U.S. imperialism destroys countries around the world with the wars it wages, creates these refugees, and then persecutes them when they end up here as part of their escape.

Defend Immigrant Communities

The information being circulated on social media is important and helpful to address the immediate threats to Cambodian immigrants. Much stronger resistance to attacks on immigrant communities is needed.

When Donald Trump enacted his racist Muslim ban in the first weeks of his presidency, thousands of people flooded airports across the United States in resistance to the anti-immigrant policy. The escalation of anti-immigrant violence along the border and ICE raids prompted calls to abolish ICE, and demonstrations that raised that demand; it grew so popular that even some politicians in the Democratic Party were forced to boost the calls. But that more combative energy was co-opted by the Biden presidential campaign, which ran on a platform that promised to “fix” the immigration system. As Biden increasingly shows that he is not even a “lesser evil,” it becomes more essential than ever that allies of immigrants resume mass mobilizations against these attacks and continue to put forward the demand that ICE be abolished.

Immediate solidarity to protect Cambodian communities facing ICE raids!

Abolish ICE!

Open the borders!

Respect the rights of all people to migrate!

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Samuel Karlin

Samuel Karlin is a socialist with a background in journalism. He mainly writes for Left Voice about U.S. imperialism and international class struggle.

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