End Southeast Asian Deportations: Keep Saray Im Home!

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Sign-on to the petition to demand the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allow Saray Im to stay in the United States with his family. Saray fled the Cambodian genocide with his parents and siblings as a child, found safety in the United States as a refugee in the 1980s, and has been living in Massachusetts with his U.S. citizen wife and children for nearly the past two decades. Saray has a stable job, coaches his kids’ flag football teams on the weekends, and is “the rock” that holds his family together. But the Trump administration is targeting people like Saray to deport.

The Trump administration has driven a sharp rise in Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and deportations in the Southeast Asian community. In the Cambodian community, 1,900 people with final orders of removal are vulnerable for deportation. Last year, 150 Cambodian Americans were deported. This month, ICE is conducting raids in the Cambodian community and planning to arrest 100 more Cambodian community members, including Saray Im. Cambodian and Vietnamese communities have been hit hard, but we have organized to fight back. We have organized against the largest deportation flight (to date) scheduled to Cambodia and we have protested against the Trump administration’s pressure on Vietnam to renegotiate a repatriation agreement that has protected thousands of refugees from being torn apart from their families.

Saray is a devoted father of five, husband, and community leader, who like many other Cambodian Americans, is facing deportation to a country he fled from due to war and genocide. Saray fled Cambodia with his family to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide where his mom died shortly after he was born. He spent a few years in a refugee camp in Thailand before his family and him resettled in Stockton, California when he was 9 years old. In 1996, Im and his family moved to Lynn, Massachusetts. When Saray was 21 years old, he was involved in a crime involving a firearm exchange. The crime did not result in any injuries. He was arrested and incarcerated for three years and then held for two years in ICE detention.

Saray made a serious mistake and he has worked hard to transform his life. When he was in prison, Saray studied diligently to obtain his GED and tutored others. After he was released, Saray held a steady job for the past 17 years and has worked his way up as an inventory analyst and now coordinator in a manufacturing company, where he is not only well-respected but also well-loved. For Saray, the love and commitment for his family is the biggest priority. Through working 50 to 55 hours per week, he has been able to support his wife’s passion to continue her education as a nurse in pursuit of her Bachelors in Science and Nursing, as well as support and show-up for his children in their extracurricular activities. For the past six years, Saray has been actively involved in the community as a coach for the North Shore Flag Football League, where many of the youth on his team have gone on to play nationally, and he has been a respected coach and community member amongst the team and parents. He teaches young people team building, camaraderie, respect, and how to win and lose graciously through this sport. Saray also comes from a close-knit family, in part as a result of having to rely only on each other during their escape and resettlement in the United States as refugees. Saray’s U.S. citizen siblings and their families have lived within blocks of his family for years and they regularly gather for meals and karaoke.

Saray’s conviction should not define him for the rest of his life. Two decades ago, Saray made a mistake as a 21-year old and served his time. He has changed. Deporting Saray to a country he originally fled due to genocide is an inhumane and unjust form of punishment. Saray has dedicated his life to supporting his family and community. Deporting him will have a rippling impact on the youth he mentors, his co-workers, his siblings, his wife, and his five children. Our communities become weaker with each of these deportations.

So we urge our community members, community groups and organizations, and allies and supporters, to sign-onto this petition to:

  1. Demand that DHS and ICE allow Saray to stay in the United States with his family and community.  
  2. Support Saray’s request to the Massachusetts Parole Board and Governor Baker to grant a pardon for his crime, which would also allow Saray to remain with his family.

In Love & Power,

Asian American Resource Workshop - Boston, MA