On Nielsen v. Preap, “Our Justice System is Not Meant to Exact Arbitrary Punishment That Separates Families.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2019
Contact: Jennifer Wang
(202) 812-9325 / jwang@napawf.org

Washington, DC — In a 5-4 ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court held that immigrants who are deportable for certain offenses are subject to mandatory detention without any opportunity for a bond hearing.

National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow issued the following statement in response:

“We are extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday. It is heartbreaking to witness our legal system fail to recognize the humanity of the thousands of Southeast Asian Americans who have built their lives in this country. Our justice system is not meant to exact arbitrary punishment that separates families.

“The named plaintiffs in the case include Mony Preap, a lawful permanent resident who had immigrated to the US from Cambodia, was released from criminal custody in 2006 and was detained by immigration officials seven years later in 2013. Today’s Supreme Court ruling means that immigrants who have been released from criminal custody and have lived in their communities for years are subject to mandatory detention by immigration officials at any time. For many people like Mony, this is the only country they know -- the only place they can truly call home.

“There is a human cost: as revealed in our report with the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), Southeast Asian American women are forced to endure repeated emotional trauma, postpone plans to grow their family, and pay for costly legal representation to free their loved ones. What’s worse, the trauma of family separation has long-standing effects for years to come.

“The fight to stop detention and deportation in AAPI communities cannot simply fall to advocacy organizations. Our elected officials must also join us and be a voice for the humanity of all AAPIs. We will continue fighting for the dignity and agency of AAPI women to make decisions about their lives, their families, and their communities.”

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The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.