Dang's wife, Ria Cruz, had a baby girl shortly after Dang was imprisoned. During jail visits, she says, "He can't even hold her."
At the beginning of 2011, the four refugees wrote to ICE, begging the agency to either release them back into the community or deport them to Cambodia. But ICE refused.
In a moment of hope, local Cambodians, immigrant rights activists and community allies sent a petition to ICE, demanding that the government free the men until their native country could accept them. They collected nearly 1,000 signatures — to no avail.
ICE officials, the families say, have declined even to provide basic, crucial information to detainees' loved ones. More than a week ago, Cruz found out — not from ICE officials but from Dang's cell mate — that Dang had been removed from the York detention prison. Then, after days of not knowing his exact whereabouts and ICE officials not returning her calls, Cruz learned Monday night that Dang had been put on a plane. Now she's left to worry incessantly that he might be unsafe in Cambodia, where newly arrived deportees are often mistreated and extorted for money.
"They're so cold," she says of ICE.
Community activist Kiernan, who had been accompanying Cruz on her trips to visit Dang, is more blunt about how she feels the current administration has treated her fellow Cambodians: "To the government, they're dirt."