Veasna Meth is reunited with his wife after going through customs at San Francisco International Airport, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Meth is one of hundreds of Cambodian refugees that have been deported since 2002.
Deported five years ago, Veasna Meth has had to watch his family grow – and grow up – in Sacramento from nearly 8,000 miles away.
But he never lost hope.
“I knew one day I would be able to get back,” he said Thursday at San Francisco International Airport upon his return from Cambodia after he was deported in 2014.
Meth, who moved with his family to the United States when he was less than a year old and grew up in Sacramento, was deported after having served time for a residential burglary he committed when he was 19.
He had never been to Cambodia, and was not fluent in the native Khmer – his family members, like thousands of others, were refugees who fled the violent Khmer Rouge regime. Meth was born in a refugee camp in the Philippines.
“He’s always considered Sacramento his home,” said one of his lawyers, Melanie Kim of the Asian Law Caucus.
Meth grew up in south Sacramento, and he’s a die-hard Sacramento Kings fan, he said, with several tattoos referencing the team name.
“I can’t explain the kind of resilience and hope it must take to have come this far and be returning,” Kim said.
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