California Leaders Seek Release of Immigrants

Leaders in the state of California are calling for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release around 200 Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants, who, advocates claim, were recent victims of unprecedented roundups in the Bay Area and other places. California has the biggest populations of Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans in the country, including the largest Vietnamese and Cambodian communities.

The apparent sudden increase in Immigration and Customs Enforcement activity appears to partly be due to the aggressive attempts to deport criminal immigrants by the Trump administration, even when they are from nations that have been uncooperative with such removal orders. Activists say that most of the undocumented immigrants taken into detention have previous criminal records, primarily from when they were much younger.

California’s Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus wrote to Elaine Duke, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, calling for the release of the detained individuals by immigration officials, claiming that in spite of their prior convictions, the immigrants have been productive members of US society for several decades. Among the 12-person caucus were the likes of Assemblymen Evan Low, Kansen Chu, David Chiu, and Ash Kalra, and Senate Leader, Kevin de Leon.

On Tuesday, James Schwab, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that all countries are obligated to accept returning nationals from the US by international law, but made no comment on the letter from Duke and her fellows.

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