Bring Thy Back!
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Update: The motion to stay was granted for Thy after he boarded the plane. Now let's sign this petition for DHS to bring him back!
Thy Chea is a Cambodian refugee, partner of a U.S citizen,and a father of four U.S citizen children. Thy and his partner are expecting another child in October. After serving time for a criminal conviction in the late 1990s, Thy has rebuilt his life in Lowell, Massachusetts. But, as one of the many Cambodian refugees swept up in recent ICE raids, Thy is slated to be deported from the United States in mid-August. Thy is scared of being separated from his family and being forced to return to a country that is the source of many difficult flashbacks associated with his diagnosed mental health illness.
As a child in Cambodia, Thy was imprisoned in a Khmer Rouge labor camp where he witnessed deaths of children and adults alike. After fleeing Cambodia, Thy, who was 12 years old, his parents, and his five siblings arrived in the United States as refugees in 1981. Like many Southeast Asian refugees displaced by war, Thy’s family faced economic, linguistic, and social struggles. Despite his own difficulties, Thy helped elderly Cambodians with their paperwork and errands in his childhood communities of New Orleans and Modesto, CA. Thy’s siblings universally describe him as a protector – someone who does not tolerate cruelty or bullying, and who would jump in and help with no hesitation.
When Thy moved to Lowell, Massachusetts in search of a job as a young adult, he made mistakes and served a 3 month sentence. Afterwards, Thy was transferred to immigration custody and ordered removed to Cambodia. Thy was released from detention in 2001. He has complied with his order of supervision and regularly checks in with ICE.
Thy has spent the last 18 years rebuilding his life. Thy hasheld steady jobs and become a loving father and partner. He has been the primary caregiver for his 20 month old daughter. He and his long-time partner are expecting a son in October. Since 2014, Thy has actively sought mental health treatment for PTSD and depression. He has come to understand that his experiences of wartime trauma and violence continue to reverberate to the present-day.
On April 20, 2018, after receiving a phone call asking him to go to an earlier ICE check in date, Thy voluntarily went with his partner and daughter, and was re-detained after nearly two decades. Thy does not have any family in Cambodia. If deported, he will not be able to continue receiving the mental health treatment that he needs. Thy’s partner Vicky is also already experiencing increased difficulty supporting their family and paying their monthly rent with Thy in detention. Being permanently separated from him would be devastating. Thy is a critical part of their family unit and Vicky needs Thy to help with childcare and financial and emotional support as they prepare to welcome their son into the family.
Sign this petition to demand that DHS stay Thy’s removal and release him so he can return home to his family.
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