Cambodian-Americans protest deportation

    They say about 50 people across the country, including a Philadelphia man, are getting deported for crimes they committed long ago.

    Cambodian-American’s in Philadelphia are upset with the scheduled deportation of Hov Ly Kol.

    When Hov Ly Kol was 19, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in two armed robberies. One ended in murder.

    Now, more than two years after being released, Kol is in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and is scheduled to be deported to Cambodia.

    ICE spokesman Harold Ort says it’s not uncommon for there to be a long lag-time between a prisoner’s release and deportation.

    Mia-lia Kiernan is a long-time member of the city’s Cambodian-American community. She says Kol, and several others, are facing deportation now because ICE is enforcing an old policy change that made deportation for certain crimes mandatory instead of discretionary.

    Kiernan says it’s wrong to deport people back to a country they have little connection to.

    “All they remember of Cambodia is fleeing the country when they were child refugees. In fact, most of them were born in Thai refugee camps and never even set foot in Cambodian soil.”

    Kiernan says there are 50 Cambodian-Americans across the country that are facing deportation in similar circumstances.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.