You Know a Deportation Order Is Unjust When a Republican Congressman Sticks His Neck Out to Try and Stop It


If Immigration and Customs Enforcement pushes ahead with the deportation of Lundy Khoy, it'll be doing so despite the opposition of Republican Rep. Frank Wolf of Northern Virginia. In a letter to ICE, Wolf wrote, "As you know, I don't often intervene in requesting a stay, however the compelling nature of this case is one in which I believe should be reviewed by ICE."

Khoy, 31, was brought to the U.S. as an infant by parents fleeing ethnic cleansing in Cambodia. Save for the 12 months she spent in a refugee camp in Thailand, Khoy has lived in the U.S. her entire life, and considers herself an American. 

Nevertheless, ICE plans to deport Khoy to Cambodia–which she's never even visited–for a drug conviction dating back to 2000, her freshman year of college. From Reason's story:

Khoy served three months and was released for good behavior. She moved back in with her parents, got a job, and enrolled in community college. "I began to accept, forgive, and believe in myself," writes Khoy, who is now 31. She also completed four years of supervised probation without missing appointments or failing drug tests.

In the spring of 2004, Lundy arrived at a regularly scheduled probation appointment to show off her college report card. When she stepped inside the office, she was greeted by her probation officer–and a slew of agents from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. They "instructed me to hand over my possessions and stand spread eagle against the wall," Khoy says. "As my probation officer silently apologized, they escorted me out of the office, handcuffed me and eventually took me to Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, Virginia."

What happened next would not have happened if Khoy had been born in the United States. But because Khoy is not an American citizen, she was held at Hampton Roads–without a trial–for nine months, while the United States attempted to deport her to Cambodia.

In a Kafkaesque twist, Cambodia refused to take Khoy, saying that because she was born in Thailand and has never visited Cambodia, she has no ties to the country. With nowhere to send her, ICE released Khoy. But the agency wasn't done just yet.  

In April 2012, ICE enrolled Khoy in its "Intensive Supervision Appearance Program," a detention alternative for immigrants ICE eventually wants to deport. ISAP involves closely monitoring immigrants using ankle tracking bracelets and frequent home visits. To top it all off, Khoy's caseworker told her that if Cambodia won't take her, she should just pick another country to be deported to.

Wolf's support for Khoy's story just goes to show how absurd it is that she's being targeted for deportation almost a decade after she completed her sentence for possession of ecstasy with intent to sell.

"Her entire family in the United States," reads Wolf's letter. "She has invested in her education and is a productive member of society. Her conviction, while serious, has not been a consistent problem. This is a typical story of someone who entered the United States as a very young child, made a mistake, has rebuilt her life, but, due to the fact she is not a US citizen, has serious repercussions to her conviction. In any other circumstance, her rebuilt life would be applauded."