Deportation irony

Awhile back I wrote a post about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, the law which grants citizenship to transnational adoptees upon finalization of their adoptions. The law excludes older adoptees who didn't meet the age and other requirements at the time the law was passed, which has resulted in a number of deportations, one of which resulted in the adoptee's death.

The gaps in the Child Citizenship Act certainly must be filled, but the overarching problem is with our immigration and deportation policies. An article in the November 30th New York Times provides a great example: U.S. Deportee Brings Street Dance to Street Boys of Cambodia.

Tuy Sobil and his family were Khmer Rouge refugees. He came to the U.S. as an infant, but never received citizenship, for the same reason many legal immigrants don't: They were simply unaware of the process. Others may understand it but put it off because the paperwork is difficult; still more may not be able to afford the fee, which continues to rise and puts citizenship applications for a family of four into four-digits. It's easy for the process to get lost in the shuffle.

Anyhow, Tuy ultimately ended up a member of the Crips, and became a champion break dancer, too. He tangled with the law and was convicted of armed robbery, which resulted in his deportation back to Cambodia. Once there, he used his break dancing talent to found a club that is helping young Cambodian boys learn to dance, and also provides English and computer lessons and a safe haven from the streets.

Tuy's contributions to Cambodia's youth have garnered him quite a bit of attention. A twist of irony brought him an invitation to perform at the American Embassy last December; another has brought his school an invitation to perform in the U.S. Only Tuy won't be able to join them.

Seems downright inhuman to me.


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