We are writing this letter to express our utmost support for Sene Sem. Sene was born in a refugee camp and was resettled into the United States when he was a child. His mother is a survivor of war and genocide. She has since passed. He has no living relatives in Cambodia and the only family he has is in Rhode Island.
Sene has had a troubled past and it should not be ignored, but we have to consider the environment and social-economic factors in his life. He has made mistakes and has taken accountability for his actions and choices. He was tried in front of a judge and jury for all his past crimes once already. Sene should not be paying for his mistakes for the rest of his life. He has already atoned for his mistakes and worked hard to rebuild a full and healthy life with his family. We feel that his detention is cruel and unusual punishment for his family and for him. After serving his time, he transformed his life. He became a homeowner and is the main breadwinner for his daughter, wife, and elderly mother-in-law.
This deportation will have tremendous long-term impact on the social-emotional development of his 10 years old daughter who is a U.S. citizen. Asia just entered the 5th grade this year in the Cranston School District. Only 13 days after beginning 5th Grade, her father was taken by immigration agents right in front of her. She was waiting for him, as she does every day, to greet her father with hugs. Mr. Sem’s detention is having a visible, and unnecessary, negative impact over his daughter’s life.
Mr. Sem’s family needs him and he is an asset to our community in this state. We, as communities and organizations, stand in solidarity with Sene and want him to be reunited with his family as soon as possible.
The Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance (AMOR)ReleaseMN8Direct Action for Rights & Equality (DARE)Center for Southeast AsiansCOYOTE RISista Fire RIThe CollectiveCollege VisionsProvidence Student UnionInstitute for the Study and Practice of NonviolenceCentral American United Student Association at Brown (CAUSA)The FANG CollectiveProtect Families FirstFirst Unitarian Church of ProvidenceMarch for Racial Justice RIGeorge Wiley CenterZora GraceShowing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) RI RI Womxn's Action CollectiveThe Woman ProjectResist Hate RIGreater Love MinistriesProvidence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)Brown Immigrant Rights CoalitionUprise RISigns of ProvidenceAlliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for EducationSoutheast Asian Studies Initiative at BrownLatinx House at Brown UniversityFieldsong FarmAlpert Medical School Immigrant Rights Coalition (AMSIRC)Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)VietLeadFamilies Against DeportationInternational Alliance ChurchFeminists at BrownMekong NYC Khmer Girls in ActionKhmer Student Association Light and Hope Methodist ChurchBetterLivingSocialClubBrown University Queer AllianceChildhood Lead Action ProjectHOPE AND CHANGE FOR HAITIF.I.G.H.T.Breakthrough ProvidenceManForwardAsian American Resource WorkshopRhode Island Socialist Alternative