Many came to the US as babies, fleeing the Cambodian genocide with their families. But now, growing numbers of Cambodian Americans who have committed a felony are being deported to Cambodia.
Some have no family there. Others cannot speak Khmer and know little about Cambodia. But US law states that non-citizens who commit an offence will be deported after serving their time.
More than 800 have already been deported. More are waiting to hear when their time will be up.
101 East explores how this policy is affecting those sent to a country they barely know and the families left behind.
Kicked Back to Cambodia: Cambodians from Australia and the US are being sent to a country their parents fled, but which they’ve never called home.
Every year, the U.S. deports thousands of immigrants convicted of crimes after they serve their prison terms, including green card holders and those granted asylum. The policy dates back to the Clinton and Bush administrations as part of their efforts to step up national security. Special Correspondent Kira Kay went to Cambodia to meet a community of deportees fighting to change this policy.