Cambodian immigrants with criminal pasts push back against ICE deportations

Day to day, for Cambodian immigrants threatened with deportation, the struggle is not knowing when you might have your last meal with family, your last bike ride, your last hug with your mother or child, if authorities arrest you.

Rickie Chhoeun, an AT&T service technician from Long Beach, understands this all too well. An agent from Immigration and Customs Enforcement first nabbed him in October 2017 when he showed up for a regular meeting at an ICE office.Chhoeun was required to check in there annually because of his 1999 conviction for assault and carrying a firearm.

And it could happen again, he says, harking back to the nightmare of being shackled, then booked into Theo Lacy Jail, a maximum-security complex on the banks of the Santa Ana riverbed where he was detained, then later sent by bus to various detention centers.

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