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As ICE Deports More Cambodian Refugees, Some Find Hope in Pardons

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Nheb Thai, a Cambodian refugee who was deported from the U.S., carries plates with pizza as he serves a meal to a group of other deportees in Cambodia. 

When Ruth Seng’s partner, Kang Hen, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents last month, she didn’t know what she would do. Seng was recently diagnosed with kidney and heart failure, and she may not survive her illness. As her health declined, she had been relying on Hen to take her to doctor‘s appointments, bring her healthy food, and take care of their three-year-old son, Kayden. Now, she feared that Kayden would end up without parents.

“I’m coming home every night, looking at the entrance to my house, and I start sobbing,” she said last week, as Hen sat in a northern California jail, awaiting deportation to Cambodia. “A place that used to be so much laughter is now all quiet and sorrow.”

But everything changed on Monday, when California Governor Gavin Newsom pardoned Hen for the decades-old robbery conviction that had stripped him of his green card 20 years before. Now, Hen will have the opportunity to reopen his deportation case in immigration court. That means he’ll likely be able to stop his deportation—and stay with his family in San Francisco.

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Thanks !

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